Almost all of our clients deal with a long-term sick employee on a regular basis. If this sick employee is unable to return to his own or modified work, a second-track program must be started within the first six weeks after the first-year evaluation. Then, of course, it is important that this be done properly. The employer can take care of this itself, but often HR chooses to outsource this part. This is to maximize the chances of returning to work.
Definition of second track by UWV
According to the UWV, a reintegration second track program must consist of “a logically coherent series of successive, flanking and/or overlapping activities, which eliminates or reduces the distance between the employee’s person profile and search profile as quickly and as much as possible.” (See #Poortwachter working manual from #UWV: https://www.uwv.nl/werkgevers/images/werkwijzer-poortwachter.pdf)
Important: It is important, however, to distinguish between the search for that one dream job and suitable employment. Many employees see second track as an outplacement process, whereas second track is really about suitable employment.
Difference between person profile and search profile
The person profile describes work experience, education and courses taken, the employee’s ambitions, preferences and desires, obstacles and limitations with the person characteristics of the sick employee. The person profile is the sick employee’s starting position with respect to the ability to find, obtain and retain employment.
Through the employment opportunities from the person profile, the search profile is determined based on employment opportunities, acquisition opportunities and resumption opportunities in the current labor market. This takes into consideration the employee’s employment opportunities to be derived from the personal profile, a listing of industries, positions and/or work within which and to which the most likely to succeed should be sought.
Reintegration second track
Importantly, the employer always remains/is responsible for reintegration. Naturally, the chosen reintegration party is supportive of the client and the employee. The reintegration activities to be performed are highly dependent on the functional capabilities of the employee (which are derived from the employability profile and the occupational health examination). The implementer of the reintegration program prepares a plan of action. This takes into account the prognosis issued by the company doctor. The plan contains the reintegration activities and the time schedule of the second track. In addition, the plan includes a search profile reasoned and substantiated by the executor and an outline of reporting times. It is important that the sick employee agrees to the second-track reintegration plan. This makes the employee accountable for their efforts and obligations. If the employee disagrees, an expert opinion can be requested.
It is important – whether or not supported by written feedback – that there is frequent coordination between the employer and the chosen reintegration party. Through the evaluation (reports), the employer can monitor the progress of counseling and make adjustments if necessary. This allows timely intervention and possible action if progress does not appear to be adequate. When the exploitable potential changes, the employer must notify the administrator.
Timeline second track
The nature, extent and variation of the reintegration-impeding factors determine the extent to which a second track program can be considered “adequate” in terms of duration. Even when an adequate reintegration program has been completed and the period of wage payment obligation is not yet over, the reintegration effort obligation of employer and employee remains in full force.
UWV wage penalty
The wage sanction can be imposed by the UWV on an employer under the WIA Act, if the reintegration of an employee has not achieved a satisfactory result and the employer has failed to make sufficient reintegration efforts without proper justification. The wage penalty means that the employer is required to continue paying the employee’s wages for up to 52 weeks longer. After the employee applies for benefits under the WIA Act, the UWV reviews whether the reintegration report is complete. If the report is complete, a substantive review of the reintegration efforts follows. This review begins with an assessment of the outcome achieved with reintegration. If this result is satisfactory, no wage penalty will follow.
A satisfactory result is achieved when the employee has come to a work resumption that is more or less in line with the employee’s remaining functional capabilities. If no satisfactory result is achieved, the UWV reviews the employer’s reintegration efforts. If there are no sufficient reintegration efforts, but the employer had sound grounds for doing so, no wage penalty follows. In any case, a proper ground exists if the employee has no remaining job opportunities. If at any time there is not complete certainty about the sufficiency of the reintegration efforts, an employer should request an expert opinion from the UWV.
Want to spar about the right approach for track two, or do you have a case where support is needed? Feel free to call us without obligation at 085-4018200 or Info@Panthion.nl