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How to manage a phased return to work

When an employee has been away from work, due to sickness absence, maternity leave, or a career break, it can be difficult to manage their return to work. Ideally, you would want them to slot right back into their previous work seamlessly, as if they'd never been away. Realistically, however, people can sometimes take a while to get back up to speed, and this can be an incredibly stressful time for them, for their colleagues, and for you.

Fortunately, there are ways to manage this so that everyone feels good about the situation, and so that the business of your company continues in a timely and cost-efficient way. One of the best ways is to allow the employee to have a phased return to work. This enables the employee to work fewer hours during the time leading up to their full return to work and may be appropriate where the leave is for distressing reasons. You can also include regular keeping in touch (KiT) days during their time of absence, allowing your staff to attend important team meetings or to keep in touch with key suppliers and contacts while they're away.

Remember that every situation is different, and while it will be helpful to have a policy in place regarding phased returns to work, it is important to have the flexibility to look at each case individually. Some staff will need a longer period of integration back into their role, and potentially other adjustments to their working environment, while other staff will be happier to return to work straight away. In the long run, it is much better for your staff retention and morale if they feel like they have some input into how their phased return will work. You don't need an HR department to do this, you can simply sit down with them at their return to work interview and go through the process, taking their views into account alongside your company's needs.

If all of this seems complicated, and you're worried about how to make it work, you can simply use the Leavetrack absence management software to keep track of every step, so everyone knows what's going on, without unnecessary confusion. Simply contact us at Leavetrack today and we'll talk you through the process.
Posted by Robin on 09 Nov, 2020 in Employer Tips