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Return to work discussion

Managers (normally this will be the immediate supervisor) are advised to talk to members of staff on the day of their return to work to or as soon as possible thereafter regardless of how long they have been absent from work. They should:

  • welcome the employee back to work
  • enquire about their health and whether they are feeling well enough for work;
  • update them on developments at work that have occurred during their absence;
  • ensure that all self-certification and fit note/medical certification requirements have been met;
  • ensure that the correct information (dates/reason) is recorded for absence recording purposes;
  • discuss any annual leave entitlement and the carrying over of any statutory leave (if relevant);
  • identify any problems - whether work-based or domestic - at an early stage.

The nature and length of the conversation will vary as appropriate to the circumstances of the absence, but such discussions – which are an essential part of managing sickness absence - should comply with the following standards:

  • they must be handled sensitively and with due consideration of confidentiality;
  • they should take place in a private location;
  • they should be informal;
  • they should reassure the employee that they have been missed and that the University values their work and their contribution to the College/Professional Service;
  • they should explore the reason(s) for the absence - especially if it appears to part of a pattern - and whether it is directly related to systems of work or the work environment;
  • they should identify what steps the employee has taken to investigate the cause and if necessary what preventative measure they are taking to avoid the absence/sickness re-occurring;
  • it may be necessary to establish whether any assistance or support can be given to help the member of staff return to work without further damage to their health, in which case advice should be sought from the Occupational Health Service.

If there is particular cause for concern, the Manager should contact their HR Business Partner/Manager/Advisor.