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The government has recently announced the details of a number of schemes to help civil servants, teachers, social and health workers to get back to work following career breaks. Whilst the schemes are initially for those working in the public sector the government has also stated that it will work with businesses to discuss how best to boost opportunities for those returning to work in the private sector.
The schemes will include paid workplace placements as well as some training and will be open to both genders, although it is expected that they will be particularly helpful for women who want to return to work after taking time out to look after children.
Ensuring a smooth return to work can be achieved in a number of ways and will of course depend on why the employee has been absent in the first place.
Some recommendations which may aid a successful return to work include:
Contact - employers should maintain some form of contact with employees who are absent on an agreed career break. Contact should be of a reasonable frequency so that employees feel valued but equally should not be so frequent that they feel pressured to return to work too quickly.
Plan - employers should ensure that they have planned for any reasonable adjustments that they might need to make when the employee returns to work. Consider if there are any obstacles to the employee in the performance of their job and if so remove these where possible.
Advice - it may be worth obtaining specialist advice in order to aid a return to work. Occupational therapists, for instance, are often able to advise on a return to work plan.
Review - once the employee is back at work it is advisable to undertake a review to check that they are happy with any adjustments that have been made or and that they are settling in again.