Reintegration in 2018: what has changed?
A Royal Decree facilitating reintegration was issued in 2016 with the purpose of getting employees on long-term absence due to illness back to work. On 1 January 2018, a second phase of the legislation became effective, which reinforces efforts made to reintegrate employees who have been absent for more than two years.
The application of the 2016 Royal Decree followed two steps. In a first phase, employers could only start a reintegration process for employees who had taken their leave on 1 January 2016 or later. Marie-Noëlle Schmickler, Director of Medical Research and R&D at Mensura, explains the situation. "With this, the legislator initially focused on employees who were absent for the least time. It's logical: the faster the procedure starts, the greater the chance of successful reintegration."
Reintegration for everyone
A second phase has started this year: from now on, as an employer, you can also initiate a reintegration process for employees who are absent since before 1 January 2016. The procedure remains the same: you must submit an application to have the employee concerned examined by the prevention advisor-occupational health physician (PA-OHP)
The employee himself/herself, his/her treating physician and the advisory physician from the sickness and disability insurance fund have been able to initiate the reintegration process for a longer period of time – even for employees absent for more than two years.
A glimpse into the future
"The great advantage of a reintegration process is the insight you gain as an employer," explains Marie-Noëlle Schmickler. "Employers are often not privy to the medical reason for the absence. During a reintegration process, those details are still kept secret under patient-doctor confidentiality. But, as an employer, you can learn a lot from the conclusions of the assessment."
"The decision of such an assessment offers future prospects. Is the incapacity for work permanent? In which direction is it evolving? Will the employee be able to resume work soon? Is he or she able to resume his/her duties, or should you provide adapted work? In the latter case, the assessment often brings added clarity as to what you can do as an employer to adapt the function optimally."
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.