Presentation T P17

T P17 (Poster Presentation):
Implementation of a sick-leave management program in a large organization

Presented by: Marie-José Durand


Durand MJ1, Corbière M1, Coutu MF1, Reinharz D2, Richard MC1

  1. University of Sherbrooke, Center for Action in Work Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, Hôpital Charles-LeMoyne Research Center, Longueuil, Canada
  2. Laval University, Social and Preventive Medicine, Québec City, Canada



Organizations are facing high rates of sick leave among their workforce. A consensus has emerged from the literature regarding a number of guiding principles that could improve sick-leave management (e. g. early intervention, joint action by stakeholders). This workplace study focused on the transfer of these principles to organizations.


The research team collaborated with managers and human resources counsellors in an organization (2012-14), in this participatory action research (PAR). Interviews (n=12) were conducted with stakeholders to describe the existing sick-leave management practices. A follow-up committee was formed and meetings were held over an eight-month period to define the content of the program and an implementation procedure. The processes used to manage the sick leave of 10 workers were monitored for eight months, using implementation indicators. Semi-structured interviews (n=8) about the factors facilitating and hindering program implementation were conducted with key stakeholders.


Using evidence-based data and the characteristics of the organization, a sick-leave management program was developed for managing workers absent due to musculoskeletal disorders or common mental disorders. The implementation of the program allowed the stakeholders (n= 19) to receive training and to create a forum for discussion on this topic. Analysis of the processes used to manage the cases revealed poor program implementation, due partly to the fact that some stakeholders had not taken ownership of the process. The analyses performed suggest that stakeholder involvement was influenced by the fact that the project initiative came from senior management rather than from the stakeholders responsible for managing sick leave (top-down approach), as well as by personnel movement within management ranks and major changes within the organization. Lastly, the absence of leadership and monitoring by the organization during development and implementation of the program appears to have influenced the whole process.


While the participatory approach is described as a winning strategy for change implementation, to be more effective, it must be accompanied by other stakeholder involvement strategies (e.g. implementation framework, appointing a process facilitator).

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
12:45 - 13:45 Poster Viewing
Session: Disability management