Registration and coffee


Welcome and introduction: national statistics

Dr John Ballard, Occupational Health [at Work]

  • The scale and cost of absence
  • Short- and long-term breakdown

Biopsychosocial principles

Prof Kim Burton, freelance OH research consultant

  • The biopsychosocial model: a quick refresher
  •  A biopsychosocial approach to managing long-term absence and return to work
  • When to intervene
  • The importance of getting all players onside – linking the systems

Long-term sickness absence: a biopsychosocial survey
Results of the At Work Partnership/Work Foundation research

Dr John Ballard, Occupational Health [at Work] and
Dr Zofia Bajorek, IES

  • Understanding absence data – and why we should be cautious
  • Organisational approaches
  • Absence causes, triggers and obstacles to return
  • What works (and what doesn’t)
  • Lessons for OH and employers



Organisational intelligence

Prof Stephen Bevan, IES

  • Measuring absence
  • Costing absence
  • What can we do with the information?
  • Easy wins and long-term gains – prioritising action on absence
  • Assessing interventions in the short and long term

Absence and the law

Prof Diana Kloss, barrister

  • Disability discrimination
  • Unfair/fair dismissals
  • Disciplinary or capability?
  • How long should you wait?
  • Pregnancy/maternity-related absence
  • Role of OH in advising employers

Legal Q&A

Your questions answered with Prof Diana Kloss




Helping employers manage absence and support their employees

Dr Donna Morgans, independent consultant
occupational health physician

  • Developing clear strategies for managers
  • Setting intelligent absence triggers
  • Unpicking the absence – the OH consultation
    – Asking the right questions
    – The importance of co-morbidity
  • Meaningful recommendations – how to advise
    the manager
    – The OH report
    – Work and workplace adjustments (temporary
    and permanent)
    – Follow-up



Stress and mental health-related absence – the biggest challenge

Susan Gee, Yorkshire Water

  • Why are stress/mental health cases so difficult to
  • What are the barriers to early resolution
  • How can employers be proactive about mental health – what works?
  • Yorkshire Water – a holistic approach

Aviva – case study: Proactive on mental health

Lisa Ost, Aviva

  • Improving attendance through better mental wellbeing
  • Tools
  • The business case – impact on absence and productivity

Final questions


Close of conference

Benefits of attending

You will gain:

  • An evidence-based approach to managing absence and the management of complex cases
  • Knowledge of the biopsychosocial model and its application to absence management
  • Guidance on how to best advise managers on their role in attendance management
  • An up-to-the-minute understanding of how the legislation and case law relating to absence and disability management impacts on your responsibilities and your day-to-day work. You’ll be certain of your obligations, and how to comply with them
  • An in-depth appreciation of best practice with our case study

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