What is a return to work and how can you use this properly?

December 6, 2011

The return to work interview is something which most employers won’t use or will not use properly, a lot of employers feel the return to work interview is only used when absences from staff are over a long period, this is not correct and should be used every time an employee is off due to sickness.

The return to work interview is not a formal or disciplinary meeting it is a ‘Welcome back’ and is used simply to cover the employee on what has happened since the beginning of their absence and also to discuss the underlying problems at an early stage of why the employee has taken time off without the problem becoming repetitive. The return to work interview can also be proof if disciplinary matters go further between the employer and staff member.

Here at HELP we encourage employers to practice this every time an employee takes absence that isn’t holiday. Listed below are the main reasons taken from the handbook.

1.    To ensure an employee is fit to return to work.

2.    To establish the reasons for absence and what treatment has been sort.

3.    Find out if there is anything you can do to support the employee.

4.    Check any paperwork relating to the absence. E.g. Self Certification Form or Fit Note.

5.    To agree any reasonable adjustments.

6.    To send a message that absence from work is treated seriously and is being monitored.

7.    Where the attendance record is poor to warn an employee if it does not improve disciplinary action may follow.

8.    To guard against personal injury claims against you as the employer, for example a claim of stress specifically related to the work situation.

9.    Where an employee has a number of short absences from work for related reasons, to reach an agreement that they seek medical advice.

10.  To show you are interested in the people who work for the Company and their well-being.



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