Phased Return to Work

17th July 2019

In some circumstances a phased return to work following a period of sickness absence may benefit the employee and provide a route to return to work that is manageable. Often offering a phased return in these circumstances will result in the employee fulfilling their contractual hours sooner which is more cost effective for the employer.  

A phased return to work should be no longer than 4 weeks, unless otherwise stated in the Schools Sickness Absence policy and should provide a gradual increase in hours to suit the individual. The aim should be that full contractual hours are worked by week 5.  If an employee requests a longer phased return it may be that they are not yet fit to return to work and a series of visits to school whilst still off sick may be appropriate as part of the build up to a phased return.  In cases of disability it may be considered appropriate to have an extended phased return, Occupational Health would be able to advise in these circumstances.

 The employee should receive full contractual pay during their agreed phased return. In order to ensure the phased return is financially viable for the School the timeframe should be adhered to.

 Prior to the employee returning, the manager and employee should meet and plan the phased return to ensure clear expectations, this should be documented so that all parties are clear about the pattern of working and the activities to be undertaken during the phased return. Throughout the phased return, the manager and employee should regularly meet and conduct ongoing reviews of the progress of the employee, amending the phased return plan if necessary.

Phased return plans are individual and may not look the same for two employees. In some circumstances week one may start with the employee undertaking 2 out of 5 full days, gradually increasing days, whereas for an employee who has been absent for other reasons may require a plan that starts with 5 short days, gradually increasing hours per day.

 If you are unsure whether a phased return to work is required or beneficial, a referral to Occupational Health for a medical opinion can be helpful.

 For further assistance or support in individual cases, please contact your HR Consultant on 0161 850 4343.


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