Return to work forms

09 July 2019

Organisations will experience employee absences from time to time. When this happens, it’s not uncommon to ask staff members to fill out a return to work interview form. In this guide, we take a look at why your business may want to use them, as well as how to go about doing so.

What is a return to work form?

You can ask your employee to complete once they’re back at work. The form and interview should discuss the reason for the absence. It’s also to check if the staff member is well enough to return to work, but you can use it to update them about anything they may have missed while absent.

Why should you use a back to work form?

Completing a back to work form after sickness lets you understand the reasons employees are off work—and to identify any patterns in their absences. It also contributes to reducing absenteeism as your staff members are less likely to give non-genuine reasons for their absences. Remember that the interview and return to work assessment form are to support employees. They should feel you’re assisting them and not judging or investigating their absence. While there’s no legislation requiring workers to fill out a return to work form in the UK, you may decide to make it a requirement at your discretion. If this is the case, you should include details within employee contracts and your official handbook.

Filling out a fit to return to work form

Within this form, employees will find questions relating to their absence including:

  • The duration of absence.
  • The process used to record absence.
  • The reason for absence.
  • GP recommendations (if any).
  • Request for reasonable adjustments (if any).

After the interview, both parties should sign the back to work form agreeing to any action or reasonable adjustments required

Benefits of a medical return to work form

The risk assessment form includes questions relating to the impact of an employee’s condition on their ability to undertake their role. It’ll also highlight any identified risk to employees, agreed modifications and estimated completion date. There are many benefits of filling out a return to work risk assessment form and conducting a subsequent interview. These include:

  • Reducing unexplained absences.
  • Supporting employees and planning for reasonable adjustments.
  • Deterring dishonesty by conducting face-to-face interviews.
  • Transitioning employees back into work.
  • Assessing risks around the work environment.

This process also offers employees the chance to highlight any mitigating circumstances that may be causing them ill health.

Creating a return to work interview form template

Having a policy that addresses employees returning to work allows you to manage absences effectively and consistently. An absence management policy should be in line to the guidelines from Acas and must apply to all employees with a contract of employment. If you’re struggling to create an original form, you can find various return to work form templates online that you can then adapt for your company. Apart from the HSE return to work form, you’ll also be able to find other free return to work forms online.

Return to work (from template)

Part 1: Self-Certification (to be completed by employee)

  • Name:
  • Job Title:
  • 1st Day of Absence:
  • Date Returned to Work:
  • Number of working days absent:
  • Are you: *full time / part time*
  • Reason why you were unfit for work (specify nature of illness or injury)
  • I reported my absence to: on (date):

  Signed (employee):         …………………………………         Date: …………………….   Part 2: Return to Work Discussion (to be completed by manager)

  • Manager’s Name:
  • Date of Return to Work Discussion:
  • Has the necessary medical certification been presented? (g., where required, a fit notes)
  • Summary of discussion:
  • Any other comments or issues raised, and any further action agreed:

  Signed (employee):         …………………………………         Date: …………………….   Signed (manager):           …………………………………         Date: …………………….   For information about managing absences, drafting policies and general consultancy service, please visit our business service page. Disclaimer: Our Return to work template presents a basic overview of the type of questions you’ll need to ask and should able be used as a reference. For your template, you’ll need to consider any laws or industry recommendations. Peninsula UK will not assume any legal liability should it arise after this template has been used.

Need more help?

Looking for further assistance with sick leave? Get in touch with us for immediate, 24/7 business help: 0800 028 2420.

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