Return to work and vocational rehabilitation from an employer’s perspective

There are many ways for you to help your employee continue at work or return to work after sick leave. Discuss the various options with your employee and the occupational health care service. The best solutions can be found when the work ability challenges faced by an employee are discussed together as early on as possibly.

Employee’s return to work 

Support the employee’s return to working life. This will also benefit your company as it reduces sick leave and allows you to retain competent employees.

Larger employers will also reap the benefits in the form of smaller insurance contributions, as disability costs are avoided. Supporting an employee’s return to work can thus bring you real savings. 

If challenges arise with your employee’s work ability, discuss the matter together with the employee and the occupational health care service. 

There are many options available for you to support your employee to continue at work or return to work after sick leave. Kela’s partial sickness allowance and many of Kela’s rehabilitation services, for example, support employees’ work ability and coping at work. In addition, you can help your employee return to work after sick leave or continue at work through a work trial in accordance with the Occupational Health Care Act or by adapting his or her work. Look for solutions to promote work ability ahead of time. The best solutions can be found by talking things over.

Vocational rehabilitation

If the services offered by Kela and the occupational health care services or other means of work adaptation are not sufficient for supporting returning to work, find out together with the employee and the occupational health care service if your employee could seek vocational rehabilitation.

Vocational rehabilitation is a service that an employee can apply for from your pension company – us. It could be, for example, a work trial, job coaching or retraining for a new profession. Your employee will receive a rehabilitation allowance or a cash rehabilitation benefit from us for the period of vocational rehabilitation.

All hope is not lost when your employee is on long sick leave or a temporary disability pension. A number of options for returning to work are still available at this stage. One example is to carry out the old work in a new way. If your employee needs to transfer to new tasks due to his or her state of health, combining job coaching and studies might be a solution. Job coaching can be tailored to the employer’s competence needs. Read more about job coaching.

A work trial is the most frequently used vocational rehabilitation option

A work trial is the most popular means of vocational rehabilitation. Its objective is for the employee to return to working life after a long period of sick leave, for example. Work trials usually last three months. Your employee must have a preliminary vocational rehabilitation decision before starting the work trial. It is advisable to apply for a work trial from Ilmarinen well ahead of time. The processing time for a rehabilitation application is around three weeks. 

A work trial plan can be submitted when applying for vocational rehabilitation. A work trial can help you return to your previous job or take on a new position. What matters is that the tasks are suitable for the employee’s state of health. Working hours are agreed on according to the employee’s capacity. Involve the occupational health care service in planning the work trial. Also agree together with the occupational health care service on the monitoring of the work trial when it begins. 

A work trial can be either paid or unpaid. In a paid work trial you pay the employee a full monthly salary and we pay the employee’s rehabilitation allowance to your company. If the rehabilitation allowance is larger than the salary, the employee receives the difference between the two. In an unpaid work trial we pay the rehabilitation allowance to the employee and take out accident insurance for him or her. 

When the work trial is nearing its end, fill in the work trial assessment form together with the employee. We will email you the form. 

Read more about other vocational rehabilitation options.

Vocational rehabilitation pays off

Vocational rehabilitation is an effective way to support employees to cope at work. Every year, 80 per cent of Ilmarinen’s vocational rehabilitation customers return to working life.

If you wish to discuss the vocational rehabilitation options in more detail, call us at the number +358 10 284 2610 (€ 0.84/minute) or send an email to our rehabilitation service for employers and self-employed persons to the address