Over 15 million people live with a long-term health condition in the UK1 and in 2019/20, there were 32.5 million estimated working days lost due to work-related ill health2. Having good management practices gives employee the best chance of staying in work and fulfilling their potential.

This guide introduces long-term health conditions and sets out the reasons why organisations need to take action. While there are many different long-term health conditions, the principles-based guidelines provided here offer organisations a starting point to provide effective support for any condition.

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Guiding principles for effective support

Research reveals the following guiding principles for effectively managing and supporting those with long-term health conditions:

Create an open, inclusive and supportive culture

Create an open, inclusive and supportive culture

Employees working in supportive environments are more likely to discuss a health condition, to ask for help when needed and to return to work following sickness absence.

More information is available on page 9.

Embed good people management practices

Embed good people management practices

Organisations that have good people management practices are best placed to enable employees to thrive when managing a long-term health condition.

More information is available on pages 9-10.

Create the conditions and provide support for successful disclosure

Create the conditions and provide support for successful disclosure

Many employees find telling others about their long-term health condition challenging. The organisation needs to make it very clear that any individual who shares information about a health condition will be treated fairly and with compassion, and their career opportunities not jeopardised.

More information is available on page 10.

Ensure employees have easy access to information and support

Ensure employees have easy access to information and support

It is important to ensure that employees with long-term health conditions can easily access information that could help them stay in work and work productively. This includes all relevant company policies and support. 

More information is available on page 10.

Manage absence and leave with compassion and flexibility

Manage absence and leave with compassion and flexibility

Taking a flexible and individualised approach to absence management can help prevent unhealthy presenteeism and avoid unfairly penalising employees with ongoing health conditions.

More information is available on page 11.
Provide access to, and training in, work adjustments and self-management support

Provide access to, and training in, work adjustments and self-management support

Some employees may require adjustments to their job role, work environment or work schedule. Often employees will need to make a series of adjustments to treatment regimens or lifestyle to manage their symptoms and keep well.

More information is available on pages 11-12.
Monitor and review

Monitor and review

To understand how the organisation’s policies and practices are working, it’s necessary to implement a system of reporting and review as there is a need to understand the composition of your workforce, and how employees with long-term health conditions are experiencing work, to ensure that workforce needs are being met.

More information is available on page 12.

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