New employee toolkit helps ease the return-to-work transition


The British Veterinary Association aims to encourage staff to return to the veterinary workforce with helpful resources

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The British Veterinary Association (BVA) recognizes the current struggle veterinary medicine is facing with the staff shortage seen across the profession. Data from the BVA’s own research survey found that 17% of vets are actively planning to leave the profession in the next 5 years, with another 19% unsure whether they will remain in the profession long term.1 Hiring new employees can be a long, difficult, and costly process, so BVA has created a new toolkit that supports employees who are returning to the veterinary workforce, in order to smooth the transition back in.

The new resource is available to all BVA members and includes guidance for employees, managers, and employers looking to return after time away from the profession. The toolkit also includes return to work checklists, legal acts and examples, a real-world case study (with more to come), and other helpful resources.1,2

BVA president Anna Judson said in a organizational release, “Whilst Brexit, the pandemic and other external factors have exacerbated the profession’s ongoing recruitment issues, we must recognize there is more we can do as a profession to retain our highly skilled teams, as well as encourage vets back into the workforce. We know there are many members of team vet who are not currently practicing for a variety of reasons, but with the right support, could return and make an invaluable contribution.”1

Additional data discovered from the BVA survey found that 1 in 3 vets has taken parental leave during the course of their career.1 Parental leave can cause an extended amount of time away from the profession and this toolkit can help new parents easily transition back into the veterinary field upon their return.

Women veterinarians are more inclined to take this form of leave (40%), and when questioned about the supportiveness they experienced from their employer during their time off and re-entry into work, only 24% felt very well supported, in contrast to nearly half of male veterinarians (48%). One in 7 women veterinarians (14%) felt entirely unsupported.1

“We want to build a modern, accessible profession for everyone, with veterinary workplaces offering an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of team vet. I know from experience how daunting it can be to return to veterinary work after stepping away, even for a relatively short time. There are simple steps that can be taken by employers and employees to make the transition more positive on both sides. Our new checklists are a great tool to help you work through the process,” Judson stated.1

BVA hopes this toolkit can be one of several resources for its members to use for improving retention in veterinary practices.


  1. #TimeForChange: BVA launches ‘Return to work’ toolkit to help tackle workforce issues. News release. British Veterinary Association. February 26, 2024. Accessed April 3, 2024.
  2. Return to work: support for employees, employers and managers. British Veterinary Association. February 26, 2024. Accessed April 3, 2024.
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