How to deal with incapacity to work and sick leave as an employer

It is prudent for every employer to reflect on incapacity to work and sick leave. Concrete numbers show that today, approximately 1% of the working population is absent for a long period due to disease, and 4% occasionally report sick due to short-term illnesses. The latter experience complaints from time to time, but aren't absent for more than a month.

How to deal with incapacity to work and sick leave as an employer

Guaranteed income insurance has been around for a while. When an employee is confronted with a setback, they can rely on it. Anyone can have an accident, disease or a psychological condition. Since a payment from the health insurance fund amounts to a maximum of 60% of the capped, monthly gross salary (EUR 3,705.73 as of 01/09/2018), employees who are sick for a long period often also experience financial difficulties.

With guaranteed income insurance – sometimes also called ‘incapacity to work insurance’ – the gap between it and the actual monthly salary is (partially) bridged. For those involved, it is one less worry.

Increasing number of psychological conditions

Vanbreda Risk & Benefits manages, at the request of the employer, the administration of these collective policies. We also strive to be a partner in the HR policy that a company applies regarding incapacity to work and sick leave.

“An insurance policy itself will not reduce the increasing number of psychological conditions”, says Business Manager Income Care Evelyne Lauwers. “We’re focusing not only on the moment that the risk presents itself. We think that prevention of absence is just as important and, when an employee is nevertheless absent, the solution for it. Is it, for example, necessary or desirable to provide adapted work for someone who returns after a long period of illness? That can be part of a larger array of tailor-made reactivation routes.”

Those routes are taken up by a partner. “We believe that it is valuable to share experiences and to provide partners with whom we collaborate. That makes it easier for the employer to find their path through that terrain.”

It is clear: as an employer you have to be in the driver’s seat. More than 70% of the working population displays increased risk of absence from work. Today they are still productive, but they struggle with complaints that can, over the shorter or longer term, result in sick leave.

An inventive and active approach

Sitting on the sidelines and counting on the problem solving itself is inadvisable. Only by embedding an inventive and active approach within a strategic HR policy can the tide be turned.

Having these same employees ending up on the sofa can be avoided by setting up initiatives that deal with their concerns. The solution lies in finding an appropriate answer to their ongoing physical or psychological complaints. By bringing employers in contact with partners with the necessary knowledge and experience, Vanbreda Risk & Benefits aims to contribute to a solution for preventing (long-term) absenteeism.

In the past, when partners were engaged to promote the reintegration of long-term absent employees, it was chiefly to limit the financial cost for the insurer.

Vanbreda Risk & Benefits is convinced that this works better when the employer includes it in an expanded reintegration approach, in which optimal communication between the employer, the external partner and Vanbreda is key.

Evelyne Lauwers

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