A new free service targeted at helping employers and employees, who may have an illness or injury, to enable them to return to work is now available across Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon.
The ‘Linking In’ service works with employees and employers in the small to medium-sized business sector to support a return to work for people absent from work for three weeks or more due to injury or illness. IBEC recently estimated that up to €1.5 billion was being lost to the Irish economy every year through sick days and absenteeism, with businesses and the Government forced to absorb these costs. A considerable number of these days can be lost due to a long term illness or an injury sustained either at or outside work. Long term sick leave can have a detrimental effect on the productivity of a company and on the personal circumstances of the employee, with both feeling the strain on a financial level.
The objective of Linking In is to facilitate a return to work by acting as the intermediary between the employer, employee and healthcare professionals to facilitate the best possible plan for the employee’s return to work. This could be support in terms of devising a return-to-work plan, agreeing any required changes to the work environment or responsibilities of the employee, advising on any training required for staff, and assistance in accessing financial supports for employee retention or workplace adaptation.
Employers and healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, counsellors, and GPs who are targeting a return to work in a patient’s recovery plan can also use the free Linking In service. The only requirement is that the employees must be on illness benefit or injury benefit, and participation in the service does not affect either of these benefits.
Michael O’Reilly, from Linking In said, “Being out sick from work can be a huge source of strain for all parties concerned and when they are keen to find a solution to coming back into the work environment, it may be seen as too difficult a path to navigate. We are there to give support to employees, healthcare professionals, and employers to find those solutions and ensure as smooth a transition as possible. Nobody wants to have an illness and it can be difficult for a business and an employee to deal with this and to see a light at the end of the tunnel, but the Linking In service can map out that process to get people back to work.” Linking In is based on the ground floor, Block 15, Galway Technology Park, Ballybrit, Galway city. Telephone (091 ) 767076, (086 ) 170 8735 and (086 ) 1708609 or email [email protected].