Saturday, May 30, 2009

RTW and Sickness Absenteeism

Sickness absenteeism(SA) is one of the main issue in any organisation. SA literally means absent from work due to medical reasons. SA is related to illness or injury. When a worker get ill or injury, he/she usually goes to see a doctor to request for medical sick certificate(MSC). Therefore, SA must be certified via medical sick certificate (MSC) issued by a registered medical doctor.
According to Employment Act 1955, every employee is entitled to 14 days paid sick leave upon commencement of employement (refer to this article for more details on sick leave).
Sickness absence can affect the productivity of an organisation. Frequency in taking MSC should be investigated to find out the health status of the employee. It is important for Human Resource personnel with the help from Occupational health doctor(OHD) to manage sickness absence in their organisation to see the trend and also to find out and monitor employee who has taken frequent MSC. It is not surprising if the investigation will find the real cause(s) contribute to the sickness. Prolonged SA is also an important issue in organisation because it affects productivity, manpower as well as medical costs. RTW program is the best way to handle this issue. RTW is designed in such away to assess a worker's ability (after illness or injury) to do his current job  and modify  and accomodate the task accordingly. The main issue in RTW program is to find out how early the affected worker can return to work - Early Return To Work (ERTW) program.
The popular term 'Loss Time Injury' (LTI) used in industry simply means workplace injury which cause a victim worker away from workNormally LTI needs MSC. LTI is one of the key performance indicator in many organisation. However, what worry most is in the attempt to achieve zero percentage LTI, a worker is denied his right to have a MSC. Sometimes to achieve LTI, ERTW program is used as an excuse and a MSC issued by a medical doctor is cancelled by the management. If not well handle, ERTW can contribute to Presenteeism which simply means come to work  instead of illness or injury but unable to do his job or perform below par. Presenteeism is the hidden costs of business. 

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