An employee can’t return after burnout? When an employee suffers from burnout, this not only has an impact on the employee but also on the company as a whole. The possible return of the employee must certainly be encouraged. But what if returning to the employee’s previous position is not possible? What if it weighs too heavily the employee and what if it is not possible from a business perspective?

In this article, you will read about your options as a manager.

sickness laws and returning to work

The Employee can not Re-integrate

There are several reasons why it is not the best option from a business perspective and the employee’s well-being to return to an old or previous level of work. The employee in question, cannot be seen as incapable or failure after experiencing burnout.

A burnout often occurs as a combination of work pressure, stress, and personal problems. In most cases, it is therefore not 100% work-related. Returning to work at an old level is certainly possible, but here you have to invest a lot of time as a company.

Simply put, someone who experienced a burnout can return. This means that the role, responsibility or position cannot be fulfilled completely by the employee alone. This has a major impact on the performance of the company. For example, you must hire an extra workforce, or provide the employee with a position that is more suitable.

The employee in question will not heal ‘spontaneously’ from a burnout. Unfortunately, some people even report chronic complaints post-burnout. In addition, a burnout has such a big impact on one’s life that many people feel that they are unable to perform even in an old position or level of work after experiencing a burnout.

Do you want an employee that is likely to experience the same symptoms of burnout after a few weeks or months of returning to work and then also to have problems at home? With the goal of being efficient and cost-effective then it is advisable to talk and to discuss other possibilities.

Another Position or Role Within The Company

When it is possible that another suitable function is available within the company, re-integration is discussed.

Did the employee have a job with a lot of responsibility? and are these tasks now less feasible? Perhaps there is another function within the company better suited to his or her current situation for the time being.

You want to avoid introducing too much too soon, so choose something that fits well with his or her abilities. One of the biggest recommendations is to offer the employee a coaching program. Thanks to this process, the employer and employee can get a better understanding of his or her strengths and see the pitfalls before they arrive.

Please read: Internal Mobility

An employee who can perform at work is much more important for the company than someone who may not be capable of working at 100% capacity. Of course, the ultimate goal can be to return to an old level, but certainly, at the beginning of the re-integration process, another function within the company can be the best choice. This choice is best for the employee as well as for the company.

Function Outside the Company

Do you have another function, position or task within the company that the employee can be assigned? If so, You can not just fire someone with a burnout. As a company, you are then obliged to find a suitable position outside of the work environment for the employee. This is also called “2nd step re-integration”. You do not have to include the employee in the workplace. Together, you can with the employee, look for a connecting position outside the workplace that is beneficial and suitable for you both.

Together with the company doctor who overlooks the burnt-out case of the employee, it must be determined whether there is not an alternative job opportunity within the company. If this is not the case, this must be officially recorded in the re-integration file. You also need to include what you as a manager have done thus far to help the employee to return as an active part of your company. Then as a manager, you are responsible to indicate what you deem appropriate work for the employee. This is how the next company will better understand the situation and what it can expect an offer.

working from home

More (Dutch) information about step 2 can be found on the UWV website<

Dismiss the Employee?

If the productivity of an employee is struggling as a result of burnout, it may seem appropriate to think of dismissal. The costs can quickly rise when an employee can not utilize his or her full potential due to burnout. Burnout has a long absence time. This is, of course, disastrous for the company. Yet it is not possible to make an example of someone suffering from a burnout.

Someone with a burnout who is temporarily incapable of work. Officially you can not dismiss him or her in the first two years that they are diagnosed as unfit for work. This is called the cancellation ban. This protects the employee so that he or she can not be fired immediately when there is a disease. When this term is over after two years, you as the employer have other options.

employment law and legislation

Focus on Re-integration

As an employer, you have to exercise all routes of getting the employee back to work. The re-integration process comes from both sides, both the employee and the employer. It is therefore important to carefully monitor the re-integration file. If the employee repeatedly fails to comply with the re-integration agreements set out and you can provide physical proof that you have done everything within your realm, then it is possible to fire someone with a burnout.

If the employee is still unable to work after a two-year illness And shows little to no signs that he or she can return to work within 26 weeks? Even then, as an employer, you have the option of submitting a dismissal.

Reintegration of an Employee After Burnout

Shorten Absence Time

As you can see, as an employer you only have the possibility to do something unilaterally after two years. It is therefore certainly in your favor that the employee returns to work earlier. Good re-integration is crucial for the recovery of the employee. For the company, it is advantageous for the employee to be able to complete a successful 1st step re-integration. Talk to the employee and see what the options are. It is strongly recommended to use expert advice.

Manager options burnout

Why not choose the help of a burnout coach who can help to effectively repair the employee suffering from burnout. This gives you, as an employer and employee, peace of mind and the best possibility to find a good solution.

Who Are We?

Milltain, with a team of experienced trainers, supports organizations in the prevention of stress and the (re) finding of work happiness in the workplace. Our training courses are aimed at managers within companies. A burnout quickly costs the organization € 70,000.

In addition to financial suffering, human suffering is high. Not only for the employee but also for close colleagues who have to deal with the blows. Before you know it you are in a negative vicious circle.

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