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Return to Work Interviews

A return to work interview (RTWI) must be conducted by the line manager when a member of staff returns from a period of absence and recorded on the Return to Work Interview Form. This is irrespective of the length of absence. The meeting must be held in private and be handled in a sensitive, professional and competent manner. Guidance is available to assist you in completing the RTWI form – How to Complete the Return to Work Interview Form

The Return to work interviews should be seen as an opportunity to openly discuss any health and other associated problems in a supportive way with a view of addressing issues at an early stage and improving attendance at work.

Recording Return to Work Interview Date

It is the responsibility of the Line Manager to record the return to work interview (RTWI) date as follows:

For managers who input sickness via ‘My View’

  • The date can be input on the relevant sickness screen provided that the sickness entry for that period has not been submitted.
  • If the sickness has already been processed it will be necessary for the line manager to contact the Absence Team via email providing the date of interview and requesting the updating of the employee record.

For managers who submit a sickness absence return to the Absence Team

  • The RTWI date must be noted on the form (section 6) for processing.

The line manager should conduct a return to work interview in order to:

  • Welcome the member of staff back to work
  • Ensure the member of staff is fully fit to return to work
  • Identify the cause of the absence
  • Find out if they have a disability and whether the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 apply 
  • Identify and address any problem (work-related or otherwise) that may be causing or contributing to the absences
  • Confirm the details of an agreed return to work based on advice from Occupational Health
  • Confirm any adjustments to the workplace/hours/duties
  • Update employees on any news while they were off
  • Ensure you have the right information
  • Check current and previous absences, has the employee reached a trigger point or are they approaching one
  • Establish any trends or patterns of absence
  • Think about how you would respond to any requests, e.g., flexible working
  • Familiarise yourself with policies
  • Be prepared to discuss the employees absence in detail

This discussion must be held on the first day the employee returns to work or as soon as possible thereafter. The discussion will be held on an informal basis and the line manager will complete a Return to Work Interview Form which will be signed by both the manager and employee. The content of the return to work discussion will vary according to the individual but may include the following:

  • Explain the purpose of the return to work meeting
  • Try to determine the cause of the absence if not already clear
  • Establish if their sickness is work-related and whether there are an health and safety issues you need to address
  • If the individual is approaching or has reached a trigger point, explain that this is the case and what the next action will be
  • Could any recommended Occupational Health adjustment be put in place in order to reduce or eliminate absence
  • Are there any other problems contributing to the absence
  • Agree a shared action plan

Page updated: 21/09/2021 09:28:07