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Temporary Alternative Work Opportunities

What is the Temporary Alternative Employment scheme?

If a member of staff is absent from work due to sickness or is unable to undertake their normal duties due to ill-health, they may be able to undertake a temporary alternative role within the organisation. The aim of identifying a temporary alternative role for a member of staff is to facilitate their return to work & avoid a protracted period of absence.  It could also assist those who require some additional support in returning to their substantive post as part of a reasonable adjustment.
The Human Resources Department keeps a record of temporary roles that are available within the organisation.

When should it be considered?

In respect of sickness absence, evidence from clinical studies suggests that, at four weeks, staff are still sufficiently engaged with their workplace to want to return to work. However, at two or three months, they have begun the process of mental disengagement that makes a successful return more difficult to achieve. By enabling individuals back into the workplace sooner, they are able to gradually work up to optimum fitness prior to undertaking full contractual duties, thus improving morale and reducing the likelihood of feelings of isolation and personal stress.

Circumstances when it might be appropriate to consider a temporary redeployment include

  • whilst an individual is waiting for an operation/treatment
  • whilst an individual is recuperating following an operation/treatment
  • whilst an individual is recuperating from a prolonged illness
  • where an individual is unable to undertake their substantive post, but could undertake a temporary role as a reasonable adjustment, to avoid a period of absence.
  • where a member of staff is absent from their substantive post due to e.g. work related stress

How is a temporary role identified?

Suitable alternative posts for temporary redeployment will be sought initially in the same directorate, then within the same Clinical Board before looking UHB-wide.    It is expected that the employee and their substantive manager will be proactive in seeking suitable opportunities, with the assistance of the Human Resources Department.

A temporary role for a member of staff been identified, what happens next?

Where appropriate, the manager will undertake/arrange for a workplace risk assessment to be undertaken prior to the individual commencing the agreed temporary role, which will be confirmed to the individual in writing by the manager.

The individual’s progress will be reviewed by their Line Manager at agreed intervals.  Advice may be sought from Human Resources and/or Occupational Health as appropriate. Where an appropriate temporary role cannot be found, the individual will remain on sick leave and the matter will be dealt with in accordance with the NHS Wales Sickness Absence Policy

Unless exceptional circumstances prevail, a temporary role will not normally last for longer than three months.   If the employee’s fitness does not allow them to return to contractual duties within the agreed timescale the matter should continue to be dealt with in accordance with NHS Wales Sickness Absence Policy.
Managers are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Department on tel: 02921 836287 [ext 36287] or email to discuss any potentially suitable temporary alternative roles that may be suitable for a member of staff.