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Supporting employees with long term health conditions

Advice and guidance for employers in supporting employees with long term health conditions returning to and continuing in work

​If an employee has a long term condition, then vocational (work) rehabilitation can help them return to and remain in work. This also benefits the organisation in retaining a productive member of their team.

The workplace is a suitable environment to support employees and provide interventions that allow them to come to work or continue at work. Other agencies can provide appropriate healthcare or treatment, which the employer can also access and use for support.

  1. Supporting a return to work
  2. Risk assessment and health conditions
  3. Next steps
  4. Legislation impacting on long term health conditions

​3. Next steps

When considering what you can do to support your employee, it is useful to take into account

  • the job they currently do – can they still perform this job on their return in the short; medium and longer term
  • goal setting – if staff work to targets, can these be relaxed during the period of support or longer term if needed
  • planning of interventions – any adjustments you agree should be put in writing so that all parties know what is expected of them (these may need to be updated)
  • health advice – this is a good time to explain what support you can offer or signpost your employee to.

It is important that you have an understanding of how a specific health condition might impact upon work as this will help you determine the best support to put in place. The list below provides an overview of some common long term health conditions

If you are self-employed, you may have financial or other concerns about keeping your business going while you are having treatment and recovering.
There are some Government benefits available if you are sick and self-employed.

There may also be charitable grants that you qualify for. Speak to the Citizen's Advice Bureau or a benefits adviser to find out more. You may find the Government run Business Support Helpline useful.

Advice and services for employees with long term health conditions

If one of your employees has a health condition which is impacting on their work, they could benefit from Working Health Services Scotland. This service provides free and confidential advice and health support for the self-employed and people working in companies with less than 250 employees.

If you live or work in Fife or Dundee City then you will be able to access additional advice and guidance from Health and Work Support. This is for anyone within the area who needs help to stay in, or get back to work, if they have a health condition, health issue or disability.

Employers in Dundee and Fife can also access it for or specific advice on a whole range of health and work issues.

Depending on the health condition, specific support may be available locally from

  • health professionals such as MS Nurse Specialist, Diabetic Nurse Specialist
  • local charities with local knowledge and support that can benefit both employer and employee in maintaining the working relationship.