Project Details

Returning to Work After Stress LeaveGo Back

Returning to Work After Stress Leave. Project Overview

By: Donna Lero, Gillian Joseph

In January, 2004, The Centre for Families, Work & Well-Being (CFWW) began a research project to explore the experience of returning to work after stress leave. Our goals include the development of materials and resources that can help employers, employees and their families facilitate an effective return to work. This 5-year study, funded by Homewood Behavioural Health, came out of a mutual interest in organizational health, and in reducing the prevalence and impact of mental illness and mental disability in the workplace as a business and social issue.

Currently we are interviewing two groups of people with very different perspectives:

  1. Employees who have taken a stress-related leave from their job and have returned to work, and
  2. Human Resource and Occupational Health professionals who have facilitated the return to work process when an employee has come back to work after taking a stress-related leave.

Some results have been published on-line and more are being generated. See the sections below for available resources.

As part of this project, on May 23, 2007 an Executive Roundtable on Successful Return to Work After a Stress-Related Leave was held in Mississauga, Ontario. The Roundtable was attended by business leaders, occupational health managers, HR managers, EAP providers and Directors of Wellness Programs. Other sponsors included DuPont Canada and Work-Life Harmony Enterprises. Mike Rushby, Vice President, Weyerhaeuser Company Limited was the Keynote Speaker, with distinguished panelists contributing to an interactive, thought provoking day.

As we move into the final year of the project we are working hard to get the most information out of the data and to report and disseminate our findings widely. In the meantime we continue to regularly update our resource pages for employers and employees who are dealing with these challenging issues.

For more information about this project, or comments about RTW after stress leave, please e-mail G. Joseph at

This project was funded by Homewood Behavioural Health.


Primary Researcher: Dr. Donna Lero, Jarislowsky Chair in Families and Work
Project Manager: Gillian Joseph, MSc. (FRHD Gerontology) Research Associate
Advisory Committee: Donna Lero, Ph.D. CFWW; Gillian Joseph, M.Sc. CFWW; Adrienne Crowder MSW, Workplace Dynamics Consultant;Janos Botschner, Ph.D., Research Coordinator, Research & Evaluation Unit, Ministry of Community and Social Services; Isik Zeytinoglu, Ph.D., Dept. Management and Industrial Relations, McMaster University, DeGroote School of Business; Erika Pond Clements, OT, and Gabriele Wright, OT, Work Matters Occupational Therapy Consultants.