Who does what in a reintegration process?

Many actors may be involved in the reintegration of a worker on long-term sick leave: from the manager and the occupational health physician, to the HR department and the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW). They each have the same goal: help the employee resume work as smoothly and durably as possible. We’ve summed up their roles.

In order to be successful, the reintegration of an employee requires close collaboration and a clear division of tasks among those responsible for the process. These tasks fit into medical roles on the one hand, and management roles.

Medical roles in the reintegration process

  1. The treating physician or general practitioner
    The treating physician or general practitioner is usually the first medical contact of a sick employee. He/she makes a diagnosis, prescribes medication or another form of therapy and monitors the treatment. He/she also reports the incapacity for work to the health insurance fund and issues a certificate of incapacity for work to be submitted to the employer.

    During the reintegration process, his/her involvement may be requested by the other medical parties to facilitate the reintegration. He/she can start a reintegration process provided that he/she has the employee’s consent.
  2. The (prevention advisor-)occupational health physician;
    The occupational health physician (or prevention advisor-occupational health physician) assesses the employee’s fitness for work during the reintegration process. He/she explores the range of possibilities open to the employee (i.e. the tasks he/she will still be able to do during his/her reintegration) and compares them to the work requirements. This also means that he/she determines whether adapted work is necessary and possible.

    He/she is also responsible for:
    • advising the HR department and management (while respecting doctor-patient confidentiality);
    • exchanging information with the treating physician and/or general practitioner;
    • exchanging information with the advisory physician of the health insurance fund;
    • if necessary, referring the employee to other prevention advisors (such as the ergonomist) to help with the reintegration process.
  3. The advisory physician

    The advisory physician or health insurance doctor is affiliated with a health insurance fund. Within two months of the incapacity for work submission, he/she carries out a first assessment to determine whether the employee can resume work.

    He/she can also initiate a reintegration process on his/her own initiative.
  4. The medical inspector
    He/she visits the sick employee at home to check whether the incapacity for work is justified, in other words, is the employee actually suffering from the condition stated in the GP’s medical certificate?

    The medical inspector does not suggest a possible adjustment to the workplace or adapted work for the employee, as this is part of the prevention advisor-occupational health physician’s remit.

Management roles in the reintegration process

  1. The employer or manager
    ‚ÄčThe employer or manager plays a central role in the reintegration process, as he/she enjoys the closest relationship with the employee and his/her colleagues. He/she can take a number steps to enable an employee on long-term sick leave to resume work:
    • He/she can maintain contact with the sick employee.
    • He/she has the right to start a reintegration process after four months of absence. In that case, he/she will draw up a reintegration plan in consultation with the employee.
    • In consultation with the prevention advisor-occupational health physician, he/she devises possible solutions for adapted work.
    • He/she informs colleagues of the need to offer support to the employee returning from a long illness.
  2. The HR department
    The HR department can advise on the development of the reintegration policy, provide administrative support and help prepare the reintegration file. In consultation with management, it can also develop a system of absence registration. A senior member of the HR team maintains contact with the other actors involved in the process.
  3. CPPW
    ‚ÄčCompanies employing 50 people and upwards have a Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work. This body dedicates itself to facilitating the smooth reintegration of workers in various ways, by
    • suggesting adjustments to the workplace and possibly work clothing, tools, work station, tasks, etc. depending on the employee’s needs;
    • proposing adapted work;
    • suggesting the involvement of external partners.

Turn reintegration into a success story

Mensura helps you draw up your reintegration policy and guide long-term absentees back to work. Discover everything about our personalised approach to absenteeism.