Reintegrating an Employee after Treatment
Employees who return from inpatient treatment or who are enrolled in any type of outpatient treatment program need to know that they will be held accountable for their job performance and conduct. Clear guidelines should be established regarding how the employee's progress will be monitored. For instance, the employee needs to be informed about periodic follow-up reviews, drug testing (if applicable), and in general, how your organisation will handle their return to work, if the employee was away at an inpatient program.
You may or may not know if an employee is attending an outpatient treatment program. Most employees are able to maintain a regular work schedule while receiving treatment during non work hours. However, sometimes employees will need time off from work to pull themselves together physically, even if they are not hospitalised. If an employee attends an inpatient treatment program, an intensive day treatment program, or any other type of counselling that will interfere with his or her regular work hours, you may need to know more about the situation, such as when and for how long the employee will be away from work.
It is important that you understand what the employee needs are as well as what your employer expects of you in this situation. You will want to be able to support the employee as he or she resolves any performance problems, but you must also ensure that your employer's expectations are met and that you follow your organisations policy.
If the supervisor has been informed about an employee's inpatient or intensive day treatment process, a back-to-work conference is often scheduled at the time an employee is discharged from treatment. This meeting usually includes the employee, his or her counsellor, and the supervisor or another company representative. Sometimes a union representative will want to be included in the meeting.
The purpose of a back-to-work conference is to ensure that the employee knows the employer's expectations once the employee returns to work. These expectations are often explained in a written contract that the employee signs. The recommendations of the treatment centre staff are usually incorporated into the contract to ensure that the employee continues to stay free of alcohol or other drugs.