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Rehabilitation for your employees

An employee's ability to do their job may be reduced. This could be due to an illness or an accident, for example. In such cases, you as an employer are responsible for taking measures to enable the person to return to work.

As an employer, you are responsible for non-medical rehabilitation and for what is known as job modification. A worker's rehabilitation may involve job modification.

Responsibility for job modification applies regardless of whether the need is caused by the job or not. Employers are also obliged to adapt the working environment for their employees when necessary to prevent and avoid sickness absence.

About job modification

You are responsible for examining at an early stage and on an ongoing basis whether your employees need job modification in order to continue working, to avoid sick leave or to return to work after sick leave. You must also find out what job modification is needed. You must then implement it and follow up and adjust it as necessary. This responsibility exists for as long as the employment relationship exists.

Examples of job modification measures include:

  • adapted work tasks
  • modified working hours
  • changes to the physical working environment
  • special technical equipment or assistive devices

Job modification – prevent or address sickness absence at av.se (Swedish Work Environment Authority) (in Swedish)

Return-to-work plan

As an employer, you must draw up a return-to-work plan if your employee is expected to be ill for a long period of time and therefore unable to work. You must continuously review the plan and revise it if necessary.

Make a return-to-work plan with the help of the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's guide (in Swedish)

Workplace-oriented rehabilitation support

As an employer, you can get help in preventing or shortening an employee's absence or make it easier for them to continue working or return to work. This is called workplace-oriented rehabilitation support. You apply for this allowance from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.

Workplace-oriented rehabilitation support at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency (in Swedish)

Employers have no medical responsibility

You are not responsible for the medical rehabilitation of your employees. In other words, you are not responsible for paying for medicines or medical care.

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency's responsibility

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency is responsible for consulting the person on sick leave and determining their rehabilitation needs. If necessary, the Social Insurance Agency will contact you to obtain information about your employee's rehabilitation needs. They may also ask you to participate in a status meeting.

Keep in touch with the employee

The longer an employee is away from the workplace, the more difficult it is to come back. It is therefore important that rehabilitation starts as soon as possible and that you as an employer keep in touch with the employee during their sick leave.

Benefits of part-time work

Perhaps the employee can work part-time? Part-time sick leave means part-time attendance. Every hour that the sick person is able to work is a gain, as their skills – which you have invested in as an employer – are put to use. It means you can follow the sick person's rehabilitation and you can little by little adapt their work tasks. And the employee gets to maintain contact with their workplace. However, it is important to remember that part-time sick leave is a temporary solution that cannot be used for prolonged periods of time.

Rehabilitation is tax-free

Benefits from rehabilitation or preventive treatment are tax-free. All occupational rehabilitation for which an employer is responsible is in principle tax-free.

Rehabilitation support from AFA Försäkring

You can receive financial compensation for half your costs if one of your employees undergoes occupational rehabilitation. This applies to private employers covered by AFA Försäkring health insurance and employers in municipalities, county councils, regions, the Church of Sweden and certain municipal companies.

Financial compensation from AFA Försäkring (in Swedish)

Get help from occupational health services

In order to carry out job modification and rehabilitation work properly, you may need to enlist the help of occupational health services, which can help with, inter alia, medical examinations, ergonomics, job modification, mental health issues and rehabilitation assessments.

Occupational health services on the website of the industry association Företagshälsor (in Swedish)

If the employee is unable to return

If rehabilitation efforts are not enough to enable the employee to handle the work tasks in the organisation, you may have fair grounds for dismissal. If the employee refuses to participate or abandons an ongoing rehabilitation programme, you may also have fair grounds for dismissal. However, as an employer, you must always consider the possibility of reassigning the employee to other duties before you have fair grounds for dismissal.

Once the employee has been awarded full sickness compensation

If the employee has received a decision from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency that they are entitled to full sickness compensation, the employment may be ended without notice. However, employment may not be ended until the time for appealing the decision has expired. As the employer, you must then notify the employee in writing that their employment has ended due to the sickness compensation decision.