Managing Long-Term Absence Essential Insights

Book now Download Brochure

Discover how compassionate management of long-term absences facilitates a productive and supportive workplace and creates a sustainable return-to-work journey for every individual affected by long-term absence.



60-90 minutes

Online self-directed

Essential Insights


Free for CIPD members and Core Learning Subscribers.

Long-term absence from work is usually defined by four or more weeks of continuous absence. The reasons can be physical and/or mental, including stress and long COVID, and people professionals are now seeing longer absences affecting more individuals. Many existing absence policies are not flexible enough to effectively support employees’ return to work and on-going wellbeing.

It’s important to reflect on the impact of long-term absence on the wider organisation and colleagues: 16,400 workers in the UK withdraw permanently from the labour market every year as a result of workplace injury or work-related ill health, a significant loss of talent and training investment. That’s why everyone has a role to play in the return-to-work journey: returning individuals, their colleagues, managers and organisational policies.

This course supports people professionals seeking to understand the complexities of long-term absence and how to implement a person-centred approach that ensures a sustainable return to work. With a practical focus, the course discusses how adjustments can help to manage long-term absence with humanity and empathy.

All CIPD Learning courses will automatically provide you with access to the CIPD Learning Hub, our online learning platform, for 24 months.

The hub will house your course content, as well as useful resources, tools, and a community of professionals that you can tap into to support your learning and continual development.

CIPD Members

You already have access to the features and benefits of the Core Learning Subscription, which includes this course, as part of your membership, access it here.


The purpose of this course is to:

  • define long-term absence
  • outline the roles of different stakeholders in facilitating employees’ return to work
  • list practical steps organisations can take to create a sustainable return to work after long-term absence.

Is this course right for me?

This course offers people professionals, including line managers, key insights into absence management practices that provide the returning employee with the best chance of getting back to work safely, confidently and in a timely way. It is also suitable for those outside the people profession exploring the essentials of ​managing long-term absence compassionately​.

Core learning subscription

I want to put my team on this course

Learning outcomes

Course structure