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How Can Supervisors Contribute to the Return to Work of Employees Who Have Experienced Depression?

Free 1 Hour
Depression is one of the leading causes of psychological disability in the workplace, and employees diagnosed with depression may need specific work accommodations to facilitate their return to work (RTW).

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The immediate supervisor can play an important role in the implementation of these accommodations. This presentation concerns the main results of a study carried out in Canada to determine the supervisor’s contributions during the different phases of the return-to-work process (before and during the sick-leave absence, and during the RTW preparations) of employees diagnosed with depression. Moreover, Dr. Negrini will present the work accommodations most frequently implemented to facilitate the RTW of these employees.

Take-home messages:

  • Depression is a widespread problem that generates enormous human and financial costs.
  • Immediate supervisors play a key role in implementing specific work accommodations to facilitate the return to work of employees on sick leave due to depression.
  • Immediate supervisors have a key part to play in providing a work environment conducive to the prevention of mental health disorders and absenteeism and to the promotion of employees’ mental health and job performance.

Learning Outcomes

To better understand the supervisor contributions to the return to work (RTW) of employees on sick leave due to depression, following a temporal perspective: before and during the sick-leave absence, and during the RTW preparations.
That pressuring the employees to RTW as soon as their mental health has improved decreases their likelihood of returning to work compared to employees not subject to their supervisor's pressure.
The factors facilitating the RTW of people diagnosed with depression from the supervisor's perspective, such as having a good relationship prior to the sick leave, having regular contacts with the employee during the sick leave, and implementing work accommodations at the time of the RTW.


Alessia Negrini
Alessia Negrini has been a researcher in the field of occupational health psychology at the IRSST since 2012. One of the leading occupational health and safety research centres in Canada, the Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail (IRSST) conducts and funds research activities aimed at eliminating risks to worker health and safety and at promoting worker rehabilitation. She is also an associate professor at the School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Université de Sherbrooke, and an associate researcher at the Centre de recherche CSSS Champlain—Charles-Le Moyne. Ms. Negrini has research expertise on the return to work and employment retention of workers in vulnerable situations due to age and health status. She has in-depth knowledge of quantitative methodology. The results of her studies, which are conducted following the Positive Psychology approach, make it possible to evaluate psychosocial factors in order to prevent work disabilities and maintain OHS conditions that promote worker health.This program is pre-approved by VRA Canada for a 1 hour training session.

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