Return to Work Interview

How do you manage return-to-work employees? Is the return to work interview part of your employment plan?

Handling absence in the workplace can be a challenging HR situation for employers. The return to work interview is an important and effective tool for managing both short- and long-term absence.

Why is the Return to Work Interview Useful?

When your employee has returned to work, it is useful to conduct an informal check-in. The return to work interview is helpful for both employers and employees; it is a way to:

  1. Welcome back your employee
  2. Update the employee of any organizational changes
  3. Discuss the reasons for the absence, and ensure your employee is ready to return
  4. If needed, identify any workplace adjustments

This discussion can take place after any length of absence, from an employee returning after parental leave to one who has used a sick day. The return to work interview sets workplace standards for employers to actively manage absence and allows employees to understand the circumstances for which leave is acceptable.

Benefits for the employer and the employee

For the employer, employee absence is best managed with a filing system. It is in your best interest to note the specific dates and length of absence in each case, and the reasons for the employee’s time off. This enables you to discuss employee issues, such as recurring patterns of absence, or support those who need physical or psychological accommodations to work.

For the employee, the return to work plan is helpful to transition back into the workplace. When conducted professionally and with assured confidentiality, these discussions build trust. The meeting shows that the business dedicates time to understand and maintain employees’ health and well-being.

It’s important to build your employee-employer relationship

The return to work interview is not a legal requirement. If you plan to carry out these discussions as standard, this intention should be stated as a policy that is well-placed in an official employee handbook. Consider the return to work interview as an opportunity to build your employee-employer relationship and at the same time, to support your business with a comprehensive management system.

Do you still have questions about the return to work interview?

Employer Line’s expert HR team at Peninsula is available for complementary employer advice. Not only can we answer your questions, we also have the resources to help you right away, in the form of employer guides and a template for the return to work interview. Call our helpline anytime – 1(833)247-3650. We’re here to help you, 24/7.