What you should do to prepare for an employee to return to work following a period of absence
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 for your employees and support services that can help both you and your employees.
Prior to your employee returning from any absence you should have had contact with them to discuss planning their return to work. You may create a support plan based on these discussions. This includes the discussion and implementation of any reasonable adjustments that could be supported to facilitate a safe, healthy and sustained return to work.
When they return to work, it is recommended that on their first day back you have a return to work meeting with them. This gives an opportunity for the employee to provide you with any health updates they may have.
You can use this meeting to make sure that any reasonable adjustments agreed in the support plan are still suitable and sufficient. You can also verify with the employee that they agree to the plan.
Your employee may have a fit note from their GP that also outlines what support they may need for the return to work. Alternatively you may have requested, with the employee’s consent, further information on their health condition from their GP or from an occupational health specialist.
To access medical information you will need your employee’s explicit written consent. You should provide the employee with information on your need to comply with requirements of the
Access to Medical Reports act 1988.
Make sure your employees are familiar with your
You should be consistent when deciding if and when to obtain a medical report. You should also identify and record the purpose of obtaining a medical report.
We have created a guidance document and a template you can use to help you with this process.
Go to our accessing employee medical reports publications
If you need advice on more complex absences and attendance issues you can access employment law information from
We have created a form you can use to help you effectively manage the return to work process.
It has space to record the discussion with your employee. You can also record details of any reasonable adjustments that you have both agreed to.
Reasonable adjustments will vary from person to person, even if they have the same health condition, that’s why having the discussion with your employee is important.
Examples of reasonable adjustments that you may wish to consider to help an employee return to work include
Use our return to work form
For information on workplace health, safety and wellbeing, contact your local health board team