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Seb Anthony

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Return to work interview training


I have to give a briefing session for managers on how to conduct return to work interviews with their employees who have been absent due to sickness. This has arisen because the department in question has quite a bad problem with sickness absence and it was felt that a proper programme of return to work interviews for all sickness absence (even if short term) might assist.
Does anyone have any advice on delivering this kind of training?
Eve Piggott

5 Responses

  1. Return to Work Interviews
    Locate the training within an overall sickness absence management training course. You will probably have a policy that could have a cameo role within the training.In terms of interviews,I always use the generic points on preparation – reading,environment,questions – use of Open and Closed. Focus on mutual welfare of individual and organisation.Make sure boundaries of confidentiality are made clear.It must be a safe environment.Individual knows you have their records etc.Be sensitive.I always use the SHAP calendar of religious and other festivals outside christian calendar to make sure absence is not connected to some key date. Ensure interviewers are trained in all possible sources of help and support,externally and internally,for staff suffering hardship.Have info about your occupational health service and procedures to hand. Make a written note of meeting,reflect back to interviewee.Supply copy to interviewee.Keep to any agreed action points and deadlines on either side. Make clear Open Door policy
    I always tried to get over the need to ensure that the interview is so well balanced and conducted,that GENUINE cases would welcome,OTHERS would not. In either event improvement in attending should result

  2. The interview should cover the following
    Return to work interviews have been shown to be particularly effective in reducing sick leave. They should always be conducted with sensitivity and fairly – as William has explained – no matter what the manager may feel about the sickness. The manager should:

    1. Confirm that the employee is well enough to return to work

    2. Find out what the nature of the of the illness is (where appropriate).

    3. Check that there is no underlying cause

    4. Explain the impact of sickness on the performance of the department.

    The last point is important – no matter how fairly and reasonably you have managed sickness absence, employment tribunals must be satisfied that you made the employee aware of impact it was having.

    A point to note is that access to details about the nature of the sickness should only be kept by key personnel (usually the personnel department) and should be kept separately from the personnel record.

  3. Perhaps you should be looking at why you have such a high rate o
    It’s good to give thought and attention to how people are supported to return to work after an absence due to sickness. However, perhaps you should also be looking at why you have such a high rate of absence due to sickness. Some possible reasons for a high sickness rate could be health and safety issues in the workplace, levels of workplace stress, boredom, and an uncomfortable workplace atmosphere (sometimes due to bullying or other factors relating to social interaction in the workplace). Whatever the cause of such a high rate of absence, it is surely worthwhile investigating possible underlying problems in order to improve the overall situation, as well as helping people back into the workplace on their return.

  4. Return to work interview training
    any one got statisitcs on how much its cost compnay on sickness and what are the top reason for sick days?
    i also need techiques on how to probe and get to the route cause, has anyone done training on this section that could help me?

    Bernie hennigan

  5. Return to Work Interview Training

    Hi all,


    I could also do with any help with developing a course on delivering Return to Work Interviews, in partcular;

    How to probe to get to root cause of absence

    How to communicate impact of absence effectively

    Use of questionning



    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


    Reply on here or email me at [email protected]


    Thanks, Sheryl



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