Collaboration refers to a working practice whereby people and organizations work together to achieve a common goal and promote sustainable outcomes.
It is well documented that return-to-work programmes are most effective when developed in partnership with key stakeholders. Social security institutions should act to ensure that relationships with various stakeholders at different levels and stages in the return-to-work process empower people to achieve programme goals. The collaboration and participation of all involved – the person concerned, their employer, employee representatives such as trade unions, and health-care and other service providers, including those within the institution – offers the best opportunity for developing an effective return-to-work programme, streamlining resources, eliminating duplication and returning the person concerned to work. A consensus approach to the return to work is most effective in unionized workplaces.
Where, at any time in the disability management process, a disagreement or adversarial situation develops, a dispute resolution process should be triggered which brings the return-to-work coordinator/disability management professional, the person with a disability, and his or her representative, if any, together to identify and resolve the problem. Where there is a joint committee, representatives of the committee should be informed and, where the disagreement or situation involves others, they should be consulted. The purpose of this process is to identify the problem and find ways to solve it which would support the employment of the person with a disability.
Where no agreement is reached, the parties should have access to independent and impartial adjudication to determine any rights or entitlements under relevant law or policy. The system of adjudication should be based on the merits and justice of the case, and not bound by narrow legal rules and precedent.
The return-to-work coordinator/disability management professional should not be involved in this adjudication or appeal process because of conflict of interest.
Where an adjudication decision is made, a right of appeal to an independent body should be provided.