Return to work after a leave on disability is a common phenomenon, but little is known about the attitudes of employees or their supervisors towards the disability management process. We report on employee and supervisor feedback from one disability management experience.
389 consecutive employees from the Ontario offices of a single private Canadian insurance company returning to work from short-term disability, and their supervisors.
We surveyed employees and their supervisors about their experience with, and attitudes towards, the disability management process.
Of those surveyed, 88 employees and 75 supervisors provided data (response rates of 22.6% and 19.3% respectively). The majority of respondents (79.1% of employees and supervisors) endorsed positive attitudes towards their disability management experience. More than 25% of employees disagreed with the following three items: case managers contributed to recovery, case managers removed barriers to recovery, and sufficient support was provided in the return to work process. More than 25% of employees and managers reported that a commitment to modify an unhelpful work situation was not followed through.
The majority of participating employees returning to work from short-term disability, and their supervisors, reported a high level of satisfaction with the disability management process. Areas that may benefit from attention include some aspects of case manager-employee interaction and ensuring that support during the return to work process is provided, including modification to work situations when appropriate.