develop a return to work plan, developing a return to work plan

Developing an Occupational Health Return to Work Plan

Jun 2018
Advice, Occupational Health

Having an employee return to work after a prolonged absence can be difficult, so along with any reasonable adjustments that have been recognised and you’ve been given any necessary advice, you should begin to develop a Return to Work Plan in cooperation with  everyone involved with your employees return, including:

  • line managers
  • your employee
  • employee representatives
  • occupational health professionals
  • HR
  • and where deemed necessary a GP.

Before implementing the plan, you should make sure the employee is happy with any agreement, and that they are comfortable in their decision to return. It can often be the case that by rushing a person to return after they have taken time off for ill-health, can have an adverse effect on their health.

What a plan could look like.

The plan should be personalised to the needs of the employee and could include:

  • any or all the goals of the set by an employer in a Return to Work Plan
  • the employee’s goals
  • a suitable time period too, with which objectives and goals are met
  • information about reasonable adjustments and work measures
  • a clear date of the employee’s return to work
  • review dates
  • and most importantly; employee and management signatures.

When is the best time to develop a Return to Work Plan?

The development of a return plan will depend largely on the employee concerned and of course, the nature of their absence.

You don’t want to put undue pressure on an employee by discussing the plan too soon. Although, if you leave it too late, you could affect an employee’s confidence to return to work.

As a rule of thumb, the best time to develop a Return to Work Plan is 3 to 4 weeks into an extended absence.

If you’d like more information on how best to move forward following an extended absence, please contact a member of our Occupational Health team today.

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