International Social Security Association (ISSA) member organizations comprise a broad and diverse group of social security institutions, in both the occupational and non-occupational sectors, from most countries around the world. In addition to emerging economic, demographic and labour market changes, new and significant challenges are being imposed on many of these organizations which have, on an individual basis, led to the development of specific approaches aimed at reducing the inflow of persons with disabilities into the social security system and improving their financial viability, while also contributing to reducing the overall impact of disabling conditions on many stakeholders within their jurisdiction.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which entered into force in 2008, requires social security institutions to assist their various jurisdictions, especially those countries that have ratified the Convention, in introducing supportive measures which promote and advocate implementation of good practice in return to work (RTW) programmes, as indicated in Article 27, section1(k) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
It is in this context that, through a broad-ranging international consultation process, the ISSA has identified successful good practice models which include policies, processes and procedures designed and implemented by social security institutions. These models are developed to identify approaches which will allow decision-makers in social security institutions to lead their own process and influence their jurisdictional environment.
These guidelines are designed to:
- Outline strategic options for social security institutions in order to achieve these outcomes;
- Stimulate discussion around good practice return to work programmes for social security institutions;
- Identify critical success design elements;
- Offer practical implementation tools.
Return to work is one of a number of cross-social security issues such as prevention of disabling injuries and illnesses and broader health promotion efforts, all of which are part of a proactive approach for social security systems. Therefore, it should be approached and supported concurrently through an integrated and coordinated mandate to reduce incidences or severity of disabling conditions, maintain the employment relationships for disabled employees and reduce inflow into or reliance on the social security system by people who have acquired or developed a disabling health condition with subsequent employment loss. In this regard, the ISSA Guidelines on Return to Work and Reintegration should be used in conjunction with the ISSA Guidelines on Workplace Health Promotion and the ISSA Guidelines on Prevention of Occupational Risks and be understood as a holistic tool for senior management in social security institutions.