Support a return to work - Supporting a return to work - Healthy Working Lives

Supporting a return to work

What you should do to prepare for an employee to 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.
 
Use the links below to find information on supporting a return to work, how to support employees with long term conditions and support services that can help you and your employees.
  1. Support a return to work
  2. Support employees with long term conditions

1. Support a return to work

Keep in contact with your employee

When an employee is absent from work it is important to keep in contact to offer support. This gives you the opportunity to receive a health update. You can also discuss any perceived barriers that may be preventing a return to work. It also enables you to discuss reasonably practical adjustments that may help support a safe and healthy return to work.

We can provide information on keeping in contact with employees when they are absent.

Fit note

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

The fit note advises when an employee is

  • unfit for work
  • may be fit for work.

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​.

Self-referral services

Working Health Services Scotland is a service for employees that aims to help them stay at work whilst managing their health condition or return to work if a short episode of ill health occurs.

It provides free and confidential advice and health support for the self-employed and people working in companies with less than 250 employees.

Find out about Working Health Services Scotland

Reasonable adjustments

Examples of reasonable adjustments that you may wish to consider to help an employee return to work include

  • alter their role on a temporary or permanent basis
  • offer them a phased return (including amended hours)
  • adapt their working environment
  • increase support and supervision.