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December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4)
Partial return to work
A randomised controlled trial in the OH units of six employers demonstrates quicker return to work in employees suffering musculoskeletal pain if they are assigned to part-time absence rather than full sick leave. Sixty-three employees (97% female, mostly from healthcare or retail) were randomly assigned to full sick leave or part-time sick leave combined with part-time work and work modifications where necessary. The occupational physician also issued a ‘fit note’ indicating the duration of partial work disability and any required modifications. Time to sustained return to work for at least four weeks was shorter in the intervention group (median 12 days) than the controls (20 days) (adjusted hazard ratio = 1.76). Total sickness absence in the 12-month follow-up was 20% lower in the intervention group.
Occupational Health at Work December/January 2011/2012 (vol. 08/4) pp40