This section outlines the elements of best practice in rehabilitation and guidance for managing sickness absence.
Wherever possible, when an employee has a skin disorder, they should be encouraged to stay at work rather than take time off. However, it’s important that the employee has no further contact with the substance that’s causing the problem. The employer may have to give the employee other tasks, at least on a temporary basis, until changes in working practices or new controls are introduced. There may be cases where the employees skin is so badly affected that they have to take time off work for their skin to recover. As a last resort, the employer and/or employee may have to consider if the employee needs to change their job.
If a period of absence is needed, it’s important for the employer to work with the employee to manage their return to work. You can get an overview of key considerations in the rehabilitation process in Work and health: changing how we think about common health problems. Also, see the TUC’s approach to rehabilitation.
The HSE also has tools and documents to help with absence management and rehabilitation. These include:
- The six elements - return-to-work steps
- Managing sickness absence resources
- Small business sickness absence advice
- Managing sickness absence flowchart
- The Return To Work Knowledge Base - a resource designed to assist people to overcome injury and get back to work
- Managing attendance and employee turnover - advice from ACAS
- The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) factsheet on sickness absence
- CIPD members can access an absence management tool - designed by the CIPD, ACAS and HSE
A Peninsula Medical School report, Avoiding long-term incapacity for work: Developing an early intervention in primary care, considers the evidence base for early intervention in sickness absence.
Concepts of rehabilitation for the management of common health problems is a paper commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions, that attempts to develop an intellectual framework for policy making, research and development.
Professional bodies - contact details
- British Association of Dermatologists
- British Society for Cutaneous Allergy
- British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology
- British Society for Investigative Dermatology
- Case Management Society UK
- Commercial Occupational Health Providers Association
- Faculty of Occupational Medicine
- Institute of Occupational Medicine
- Society of Occupational Medicine
Financial help and advice
Under certain circumstances, employees with skin conditions can qualify for government funding to pay for adjustments to the work premises or equipment so that they can keep working.
If you feel that the type of work you do is affected by a disability or health condition that is likely to last for 12 months or more, ask the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus office about Access to Work. They can put you in touch with your closest Access to Work Business Centre to check whether you’re eligible for help.
HM Revenue and Customs has a range of advice, including a calculator for statutory sick pay.
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