The role of the Return to Work Plan after sickness absence

16 August 2017

Are you new to managing staff absence or need a refresher on the Return to Work Plan under Fit for Work?

Anyone who is referred to Fit for Work and has a discussion with a case manager receives a Return to Work Plan, which will include advice and recommendations for a safe return to work. Wherever possible an agreed schedule for the return to work will also be included.

A sample Return to Work Plan from Fit for Work can be found in the employer toolkit.

The Return to Work Plan would cover the following aspects:

  • A summary of the issues/obstacles that are making it difficult for employees to return to work (e.g. stress leading to anxiety)

  • Recommendations and solutions to help overcome the issues (e.g. counselling)

  • Adjustments to work (e.g. a short-term change of responsibilities) and the timescales for which these adjustments are likely to be necessary

  • Signposting to independent agencies that could provide support (e.g. Mind)

  • Possible interventions (e.g. physiotherapy, counselling) which could help employees return to work more quickly and save employers money in the long-term

  • Any agreed follow ups, which may be necessary in order to check the employee’s progress

As the Return to Work Plan also contains the information that would be on a Statement of Fitness for Work or ‘fit note’, it can be used as evidence by employers instead of a GP-issued fit note when considering entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay. If the individual can’t return within three months, then a further fit note will be required at that time from their GP.

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