Background: The increase in working age and long-term illnesses is a challenge for society to maintain the health of employees and to support their work participation. In many countries, such as Germany, a gradual return to work (GRTW) is used frequently to support returning employees, but little is known about its facilitators and obstacles. This protocol aims to provide an overview of the national state of the art in workplace adjustments during return to work and to outline the design of a qualitative study examining current GRTW practices in Germany.
Methods: Our qualitative study will examine the current implementation of GRTW by means of 32 narrative interviews and 10 group discussions from different perspectives. Therefore, we will ask returning employees as well as organisational stakeholders and external experts about their experiences with GRTW and attitudes towards the measure. The verbal data obtained will be analysed using the documentary method of interpretation.
Discussion: This study will reveal facilitating and hindering factors for the implementation of GRTW in Germany. The findings of the study may contribute to an improved implementation of GRTW not only in Germany.
The complete article is published in the Journal "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health" (2022).
I. L. Schulz, R. Stegmann, U. Wegewitz, M. Bethge:
The current practice of gradual return to work in Germany: a qualitative study protocol.
in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 19, Issue 6 2022. pages 1-16, Project number: F 2459, PDF file, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19063740
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