1 . Return to work meetings
When someone returns to work after an absence, they should talk with their employer. This is to make sure they're ready to return and have any support they need.
An employer should have a process they follow when someone returns to work. This should be in the organisation's absence policy, if they have one.
A return to work meeting is often just an informal chat between an employee and their line manager. These meetings are sometimes called return to work interviews.
What a return to work meeting is for
It's not a legal requirement to have a return to work meeting. But a chat as soon as possible after an employee has returned is a good opportunity to:
- make sure the employee is ready to return to work
- talk about any work updates that happened while they were off
- see if they need any support
- agree on a plan for returning to work, if appropriate, for example a phased return to work
- talk about what they would like other employees to know about their absence and what they would like to keep confidential
If the employee has been off sick, their employer might also:
- look at any recommendations from the employee's doctor
- consider a referral to a medical service such as occupational health
If the employee is disabled, their employer should discuss whether there are any reasonable adjustments they can make to support the return to work.
An employer should also look out for signs of underlying problems causing an employee's absence. For example:
- work-related stress
- a disability
The employer should be sensitive and understanding if they're talking to someone about this. An employee does not have to tell them anything. But talking openly can help the employer put the right support in place.
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How to prepare for a return to work meeting
Before a return to work meeting, an employer should:
- make sure the chat will be private and confidential, whether it is face to face or online
- gather any relevant employee records – for example, records of previous conversations about the employee's absence
- prepare questions to ask
- make sure they know what support they can offer
They should also think about how they might respond to any requests from the employee. For example:
If the employee has been off sick, an employer should read any recommendations from the employee's doctor in a:
Before the return to work meeting, an employee should speak to their employer to:
- find out more about the meeting and what to expect
- check if there's anything they need to bring
They should also think about:
- any changes or adjustments they might need
- what support might help in the future
If an employee is unhappy with how their return was handled
If an employee is unhappy with how their return to work has been handled they should raise it with their employer.