Getting Ill Teachers Back to School:
Sickness Absence from Work and the Performance of an Occupational Re-Integration Management Program
for School Teachers in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
The causes for sick leave of those teachers taking part in the RIMP (N~100 cases per year) are due to mental illnesses (amongst others depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety disorder) in 50% to 60% of the cases. Patients assume that mentall illnesses are mainly caused by work environment strains or by a combination of workplace and personal strains. The other 40% of supervised teachers suffer from physical illnesses. Accidents at work or in personal life are only minor causes for incapacity for work.
After repeated examination and consultations with patients the physicians at the Institute of Teachers’ Health suggest several actions for re-integration, i.e. successive or stepwise re-integration; discussions with the stuff council; further medical care by external experts as e.g. psychologists, physiotherapists; ergonomic workplace design or reduction of teaching hours.
In September 2017, three years after the introduction of the re-integration management program, a study is started to evaluate its Performance: First, we conduct qualitative interviews with selected former patients to learn about their experience/satisfaction with the RIMP; their status of illness/work ability; their job-satisfaction and evaluation of appropriateness of the action taken to retrieve work ability. Study results will be reported at the conference. Second, all former patients will be invited to evaluate the RIMP by a standardized questionnaire. Based on the results, the RIMP will be adapted to meet the respective requirements.