Returning to work after long-term illness
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Last Updated on January 20, 2021 by George

Return to a work meeting. Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

How to return to work after a long-term illness

Sometimes sick days can become six weeks, and six months. 

So when you are ready to go back to work, we understand it can be a daunting prospect. 

We show you how to get back into work mode.

There are many different reasons you might need to take time off.

Most people take an odd sick day here and there when they’re feeling a little under the weather, 

What do you do when you are too ill to go to work?

Once you’ve been sick for more than seven days in a row – it’s essential to get a fit note (or statement of fitness for work) from your GP or hospital doctor.

Do you worry about how your manager will react when you ‘phone in sick’?

Getting back to work is essential to you, not only because of your financial situation, but it’s also a return to some normality.

To help you get back to your 9-to-5 job as soon as possible, here are our top tips to help you return to work after long-term illness:

keeping in touch with your employer

Your manager role

HR or line manager wants to do what you can to ensure the employee’s transition is smooth.

You play a crucial role in managing the transition for these employees returning to work after a long-term illness and want to ensure they transition successfully.

But you may be wondering what is reasonable and appropriate for the person, how you determine that you must talk about it with them.

Back to work interview a legal requirement?

When the staff member returns to work, you should consider undertaking a return to a work meeting. 

To discuss reasonable adjustments. You also need to make sure you treat your notes from the meeting as sensitive data and store them in line with GDPR.

Asking your employer for reasonable adjustments 

Talk about reasonable adjustments. But this is not a legal requirement, but it is generally considered good practice and has been, shown to reduce short term absences.

  • Welcome the employee back to work

  • Have an open dialogue to check the employee is well enough to resume.

  • Allow both parties to identify and discuss any potential problems, and arrange for extra support if it is needed.

  • Assess the type of work undertaken and any changes necessary for a safe return to work.

  • Also Considering reduced hours or different duties.

A phased return to work after a long-term sickness absence.

It may be needed. Long-term sickness is defined as an absence that lasts longer than four weeks.

recovering from long term illness

Returning to work after a long-term illness or injury may, found that the actions and attitudes line manager can be crucial to a person’s successful return to work.

Speak to your manager to ask for support. If needed?

If you’ve been off work for a long-term illness – the thought of going back can be a daunting prospect.

Not only have you had to deal with a long-term illness, but you’ve also had to put the time and energy into recovering – which can often result in a blow to your confidence.  You’ve been ill for so long that you’re beginning to wonder whether you’ve forgotten how to do your job.

Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t panic. Returning to work after long-term illness will always seem scary at first.

But you’ll be surprised at how things return to routine and normality after just a few days back in the workplace.

And remember your employer should’ve kept your illness confidential, so there’s no need to worry about the whole office knowing your private business.

To sum things up

  1. Return to work interviews shouldn’t be overlooked as they serve a range of benefits. They don’t have to feel too formal,

  2. Understand it can be a daunting prospect for the employee. It is essential to helping them to feel valued.

  3. Welcome them back.

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