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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