Staying connected to workers on disability leave may be more important than you realize.

Hello, everyone — I’m baaaaack. Perhaps you didn’t even notice I was gone, but today’s post is my first in nearly two weeks. I was taking some much-needed time off to recharge my batteries and tend to family events.

During that time, I learned that my daughter’s beloved preschool teacher had tendered her resignation, following a two-month disability leave to recover from a serious car accident.

Although she’d healed physically, it seems her emotional wounds were a different story. After so long away, she apparently felt it would be too hard to get back into the swing of teaching and caring for the children.

So, even though she was offered light-duty options, she resigned instead.

That got me thinking, especially since after these last two weeks out of the office, I got used to not working. Yes, it was vacation — not disability — I had a firm return date, and I like my work and my coworkers.

Still, I had fleeting thoughts that maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to hang it up. No one really missed me, after all. 

I thought, maybe that’s how my daughter’s teacher felt. I’ll be the first to admit that teaching toddlers is much tougher than my job. Plus, three-year-olds have short memories, and it didn’t seem that many of her coworkers had kept in touch during her leave.

Maybe she thought resigning and starting fresh somewhere else was the best thing to do.

I think it says something about the value of staying connected to employees when they’re on disability leave. So, I point you toward EBN’s featured report this month, “Back into the fold,” which highlights the importance of outreach in helping employees on disability return to work successfully.

Read the article and then share your thoughts in the comments about whether keeping ties with employees on disability helps or hurts return-to-work efforts.

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