What Are Back to Work Forms?
When employees get back to work after a long absence, be that an injury, prolonged illness, pregnancy, or parental leave, HR managers and executives like to use a form to help facilitate both sides' resumption to work. This back to work form is used to collect information about the employee. During their return interview, employees fill out the form together with their supervisor and outline how they can be reintegrated into the company as seamlessly as possible.
The back to work form can also be designed as a checklist. In this way, supervisors can first request all important information before starting to create a reintegration plan.
This article deals with the following topics:
1. Informations you should include in a back to work form
2. Benefits of a going back to work form
3. The back to work interview
4. A digital tool for getting back to work
What Information is Required in a Back to Work Form?
In the form for resuming work after a long illness, the absentee will usually provide information regarding the incident or event that kept them from the workplace. Most back to work form templates ask for the following information:
- The Duration of the Absence
- The Method by Which Employees Used to Report Their Absence
- The Reason for their Absence
- Details of any Previous Absences in the Previous Calendar Year
- A Summary of the Plan to Return to Work
- Appropriate Adjustments Needed to Help the Employee Return to Work
Why Is a Back to Work Form Useful?
For companies, a back to work scheme can be a helpful tool to better understand employees, identify absence patterns, and find ways to reduce events or injuries that caused an absence in the first place. In addition, such a form helps:
- Prevent Unauthorised and Unjustified Absences.
- Confirm the Correctness of an Employee's Absence Statement.
- Inform Employees about Changes Made During Their Absence.
- Identify all Necessary Adjustments for Reintegration into the Workplace.
- Develop, Discuss, and Agree on a Plan to Resume Work.
Some employers have long since established such forms and return interviews as a prerequisite for resumption to work in their companies—mainly because both sides benefit from them.
What Should I Expect in a Back to Work Interview?
At a return to work interview, an employee and his or her supervisor meet to discuss the employee's resumption to work after his or her absence. The manager uses the interview to confirm the employee's intention to return to work and to determine the most appropriate return plan.
The return to work interview can be divided into three phases:
- Before the Conversation
- During the Conversation
- After the Conversation
In all phases, managers should consider the following:
1. Before the Return to Work Interview
- Read the employee's attendance data for the past year and the attached interview notes. This will give you a better basis for supporting the employee in his or her return to work plan.
- Use a form template for resuming work after a long illness to better structure the interview. At the same time, mutual communication should be maintained during all stages of the reintegration process.
- Select a conversation room in which the employee will feel at home.
2. During the Return to Work Interview
- Always keep the purpose of the meeting in mind: To help the employee resume their jobs.
- Discuss the notes from a previous return to work interviews (if available) with the employee. Then, determine what help the employee is currently receiving.
- Discuss the cause(s) of the absence, for example, the likelihood of the disease’s recurrence (if applicable).
- Check whether there are personal or work-related concerns about returning to work. If there are personal problems, discuss whether there are any support mechanisms/measures that the employee or supervisor can take to alleviate the problems. If the problems are work-related, a risk assessment should be assigned to rectify the situation. This can be the case of disability, pregnancy, or an accident at work.
- It should be determined that adjustments are necessary for the working environment of the employee.
- The employee should be reminded that there are mutual obligations, - i.e. it is the individual's responsibility/contractual obligation to participate in the work and that the employer/manager has a corresponding responsibility and concern for the employee's well-being.
3. After the Return to Work Interview
- Both parties should sign the form to resume work once the action plan has been discussed. This information must remain strictly confidential.
- Managers and employees should agree on a review period and/or review of the necessary measures.
- The responsible employee must be informed of the duration of certain measures.
- Managers should be available to speak on behalf of employees if any problems arise during reintegration.
Digital Tool for Back to Work Forms
Longer absences from the workplace can affect the productivity of a company and the morale of the staff. This makes it all the more important to understand why an absence occurred and help absentee assimilate back to their normal routine.
With a digital tool like Lumiform, companies can avoid a time-consuming paper process. The mobile app allows users to capture, analyze, and exchange information immediately. There is no need for post-processing. Employees can use the dashboard to easily plan and track their reintegration into the company.
The advantages of the mobile app for employees and employers at a glance:
- The back to work scheme can be easily filled out by supervisors and employees via a tablet or smartphone - online or offline.
- All information is automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to other responsible persons in the company.
- Continuous increase in quality: Back to work forms can be continuously adapted through the flexible form builder. Since Lumiform guides the employee through the checks, no training is required.
- The app is straightforward to use and offers no room for errors. The app’s documenting features are less complex than tedious paper or excel sheets.
- Depending on the application, back to work interviews are carried out about 30%-50% faster than with outdated paper forms.
To make it easier to get back to work, we have put together some templates that can be used immediately with the Lumiform App. All templates can be easily adapted to internal company requirements. No programming skills are required.