Frank and informal, these meetings aim to welcome employees back to the workplace, with due regard to any issues still relevant to the employee’s wellbeing – and their ability to effectively carry out their responsibilities.
• Helping to identify underlying causes of absence.
• Demonstrating to employers the impact of absence on the business.
• Communicating the monitoring and recording policy and process.
As a manager, you should have the sickness absence record, current GP Fit notes and/or a summary of any medical advice prior to conducting a return-to-work interview. And remember, any information you record falls under “sensitive” data, in line with Data Protection.
• Explain that the purpose of the return-to-work interview is to monitor absences so that problems can be identified and support offered where appropriate.
• Share relevant information with the employee and confirm that the information is correct and reflects the current absence or medical condition.
• Confirm that the employee is fit to return to work and hours of work.
• Discuss and agree the details of any phased return, restricted or light duties.
• Where appropriate ask the employee to confirm if they are taking medication and have to self-medicate during working hours.
• Agree a date and time to meet again and review progress.
• Ask the employee about the reason(s) for his or her absence, ensuring that the question is asked in a supportive way.
• Ask the employee whether or not he or she consulted a doctor or attended hospital.
• Avoid asking intrusive medical questions of the employee, while at the same time seeking to establish the basic underlying cause of the absence.
• Check that the employee is well enough to attend work.
• If there is any discrepancy between the employee’s stated reason for the absence and the information given when notification of absence was originally provided.
• Ask the employee to explain the discrepancy; and review and check the employee’s self-certification form, making sure the employee has signed it, and countersign the form.
• Ask the employee if they have any questions about their return to work.
• If the employee has a record of frequent absence, state the company’s expectations for improving attendance.
• Confirm the individual’s score if Bradford Factor is the method for recording and managing absence.
• Explain potential outcomes if the company does not see the improvements required.
• Provide a copy of the current sickness absence policy and procedure for personal reference.
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