Recommendations for research

The guideline committee has made the following recommendations for research.

As part of the 2019 update, the guideline committee made 5 additional research recommendations. Four of these relate to a UK focus on effective and cost-effective interventions to: support return to work after long-term sickness absence; support return to work after recurrent short-term sickness absence; reduce long-term sickness absence and support return to work in people with common mental health conditions; and reduce recurrent short-term sickness absence and support return to work in people with common mental health conditions. The other is on the challenges and potential solutions for UK employers and employees in managing sickness absence and return to work in micro-, small- and medium-sized organisations. The committee removed 4 research recommendations from the original guideline on: preventing sickness absence; evaluating interventions; return to work interventions and programmes; and cost effectiveness. The committee considered that the new research recommendations capture any research questions that still need to be addressed.

Key recommendations for research

1 Interventions after long-term sickness absence

What interventions are effective and cost effective in supporting return to work, in all workplaces including micro-, small- and medium-sized organisations, after long-term sickness absence in the UK?

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on interventions after long-term sickness absence see the rationale and impact section for workplace culture and policies and the rationale and impact section for early intervention.

2 Interventions after recurrent short-term sickness absence

What interventions are effective and cost effective in supporting return to work after recurrent short-term sickness absence in the UK?

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on interventions after recurrent short-term sickness absence see rationale and impact.

3 Interventions after long-term sickness absence for mental health conditions

For people with common mental health conditions, what interventions are effective and cost effective in reducing long-term sickness absence and supporting return to work in the UK?

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on interventions after long-term sickness absence for mental health conditions see rationale and impact.

4 Interventions after recurrent short-term sickness absence for mental health conditions

For people with common mental health conditions, what interventions are effective and cost effective in reducing recurrent short-term sickness absence and supporting return to work in the UK?

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on interventions after recurrent short-term sickness absence for mental health conditions see rationale and impact.

5 Challenges and potential solutions for smaller employers

What are the challenges and potential solutions for UK employers and employees in micro-, small- and medium-sized organisations (which may not have easy access to additional services such as employee assistance programmes or occupational health services) in ensuring sickness policy is managed effectively and facilitating return to work?

To find out why the committee made the research recommendation on the challenges and potential solutions for smaller employers see rationale and impact.

Other recommendations for research

Interventions to reduce sickness absence where employees are not centrally located

Which interventions are effective and cost effective in supporting people working in organisations where employees are not centrally located to return to work after long-term sickness absence in the UK?

  • Public Health England – Alcohol and drug misuse prevention and treatment collection
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)