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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Return to Work Meetings

Guidelines for a Return to Work Meeting

Purpose

  • To welcome the employee back to work
  • To ensure the employee is fully fit to return to work
  • To identify the reason for the absence and confirm the length of absence
  • To identify and address any problem (work-related or otherwise) that may be causing or contributing to the absence
  • To discuss and/or identify any adjustments to the workplace/hours/duties that may reduce/eliminate absences
  • To agree the priorities for the post absence period and to up-date the employee

The meeting must be held in private and must be handled in a sensitive, professional and competent manner.

Preparation

  • Ensure you have the right information available
  • Check records for both current and previous absences from LAMS
  • Be prepared to discuss any trends or patterns of absence
  • Remember THIS IS NOT A DISCIPLINARY HEARING - you are trying to establish facts.
  • Approach the meeting with an open mind and no prejudgements.

Discussion

  • The core of this process is to discuss the absence
  • Try to determine the cause of the absence
  • Listen to what is being said
  • Is the cause work related?
  • Could adjustments to the workplace/hours/duties reduce/eliminate absences?
  • Are there any other problems contributing to the absence
  • Place current absence in the context of previous absences
  • Be sensitive to employees feelings where personal problems and illnesses are involved
  • Where there is conflicting evidence/statements, ask for an explanation
  • Discuss the effect of the absence on the employee's work colleagues
  • Warn the employee that frequent intermittent absence may trigger the University's associated Absence Management Procedure.

Afterwards

Make a written note of the meeting and place it on the employee's personnel file.