What happens when an employee feels able to return to work after a long absence, but their employer feels that they can’t? I had assessed someone who had been on extended sick leave for eight months, motivated by her employer. She had received no form of income from any source at this time. Her financial means were dire to the extent that the bank repossessed her car. She couldn’t afford to feed her children. She had become reliant on donations and loans from family and friends.

The Functional Capacity Evaluation revealed that she had no physical or cognitive limitations stopping her from performing her job. Mentally, she was depressed and anxious but this seemed largely due to her financial predicament. She found herself broke as a result of being denied to return to work and therefore receive her salary. The employer considered her unable to resume duties based on her condition at the time she stopped working.

I think that the power of recovery is the issue at hand and employers must recognise it. People do get better. In this case, denying the person the ability to return to work would have been a travesty. Sometimes a work trial is helpful to prove the point one way or the other. A period of three months is my usual recommended duration for a work trial.

I welcome your thoughts.

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