Supporting staff attendance

Information on how to support an employee's return to work after a period of absence

Supporting a return to work

​When an employee is absent from work for a period of time, there are recommended steps that you can take as an employer to assist their return.

Keep in contact with your employee

When an employee is absent from work, it is important to keep in contact to offer support. This also gives you the opportunity to receive a health update.

You can use this to discuss any barriers that may be preventing a return to work. It also enables you to discuss reasonable practical adjustments that may help support a safe and healthy return to work.

Your policy should outline what contact is expected when your employee is absent which makes keeping in touch much easier.

Fit note and self-certificate

If the employee is absent for less than 7 days, then a self-certificate (external site) is required.

A fit note is required if an employee is absent from work for more than 7 days (including weekends).

The fit note is issued by the employee’s GP or other suitable medical practitioner and the original needs to be seen by you. You may then take a copy for your confidential records and return the original to the employee.

A GP will advise on the fit note that your employee is unfit for work due to their health condition or that they may be fit for work with recommended reasonable adjustments.

GOV.UK provides fit note guidance for employers and line managers (external site).

The fit note advises when an employee is:

  • unfit for work
  • may be fit for work