H1. Chronic Conditions Guide

“We will embed the principles of the chronic conditions guides (developed through the Responsibility Deal’s health at work network) within HR procedures to ensure that those with chronic conditions at work are managed in the best way possible with reasonable flexibilities and workplace adjustments.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve, and why it is important

This pledge sets out to improve the workplace support employers provide for people with long-term/chronic conditions (such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease), which may help them stay in work or return to work following sickness absence. It asks employers to embed some basics principles for managing these conditions within their HR procedures.

With the prevalence of long-term/chronic conditions increasing, more and more organisations find themselves having to manage employees with these conditions. Work is good for people’s physical and mental health and can reduce the impact that these chronic conditions have on people’s health and wellbeing.

Two guides, developed by the Responsibility Deal’s health at work network set out some basics principles for managing long-term/chronic conditions in the workplace.  The guides describe a common-sense approach to supporting employees. They reflect the minimum that would be expected in a trusting, respectful line manager/employee relationship.

Benefits to public health

Increasingly, evidence supports the view that work can be good for people’s health and wellbeing.  Working can reverse the harmful effects of prolonged sickness absence and long-term unemployment.  Keeping people in work and getting those on long-term sickness absence back into work can improve the health of the working age population.

Benefits to employers/employees

In difficult economic times, safeguarding the health of the working age population becomes even more critical. Feeling well supported and valued in work can improve employees’ health and the quality of their work.  And good management of long-term/chronic conditions has benefits for the employer as well as the employee – with improvements in productivity and attendance.

How you can deliver this pledge

The chronic conditions guides set out some principles for managing long-term/chronic conditions.  The guide for employees offers advice and practical solutions on coping at work, while the guide for employers and line managers looks at good practice for supporting employees with these conditions.

As employers, you can promote the guides’ principles within your organisation and embed these principles within your HR policies.  You can do this by:

  • Ensuring staff are aware of the guides’ principles, particularly for those with line-management responsibilities.  This could be delivered, for example, by including a module within existing line manager training programmes or running a seminar.
  • Making reasonable work and/or workplace adjustments for employees that will enable them to remain in work or return to work more quickly.
  • Ensuring any existing HR policy for managing long-term/chronic conditions is aligned with the level of care and support recommended by the guides.
  • Adopting the guides’ principles into HR policy in a way that is suitable for the organisation – if there is no current organisational policy.
  • Making all staff aware of your HR policy. This could be delivered, for example, through staff induction programmes; an awareness campaign using any existing in-house communications – intranet, staff magazine; or, where appropriate, training sessions or seminars.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.

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