Return to Work Employer “It’s OK” Pledge, by Jane McNeice

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When an employee returns to work after an absence, we as employers may need to take steps to reintegrate them into new or changed systems, practices, processes and relationships. These help the returnees work to feel included, to be up to date with what is being valued and to illustrate that we care about their wellbeing. Returning to work without planning can put an unnecessary strain on employees and prevent employers from getting the most out of their returning employee. In order to achieve economic recovery, people are one of the most important things we need to effectively contribute to that growth.

In recent years many well-embedded practices have been promoted in workplaces, some to the extent that the government has mandated it, e.g. Stay in contact or KIT days for those who are on maternity leave. We recommend a gradual return for those who have been absent for long periods of time to avoid burnout thresholds that are more easily exceeded when we are out of work for extended periods of time. We make appropriate adjustments for people with health needs and disabilities. But has the government duly considered such practices in its plans for those returning from vacation, or has laws and rules regarding vacation banned some best practices?

One aspect of the return to work that we as employers are in control of is the way we treat the returning worker when they return to work. Mind Matters encourages you and your organization to adopt ours “Urlaub RTW” It’s OK “Promise” The aim is to support the sustainable return of employees on leave to work as soon as they are back at work. It encourages patience, support, and guidance in the workplace so that we can all benefit from work ‘It’s okay’ Support:

Holiday RTW: “It’s okay” Employer promise

Help for those returning from vacation to feel welcome and supported when they return …

  • It’s okay to be asked how to use equipment, software, or how to take on a task that I haven’t done in a while
  • It’s okay to take extra time to check in with colleagues, contacts, and networks I haven’t dealt with for a while
  • It’s okay that I feel tired faster than usual
  • It’s okay that I experienced my vacation differently from someone else because there is no right or wrong way to experience it
  • It’s okay Asking about Covid-19 risk assessments and safety procedures now that I’m away from home
  • It’s okay to ask what happens if something has changed while I was away and to get an update from my employer.


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