Introduction to this document

Return to work interview form

You should always record the information an employee reveals to you during a return to work interview. The easiest way to do this is by using a standard form. This allows you to ask the same questions of all members of staff who go off sick and makes sure that you don't miss anything out. Use our return to work interview form for this particular purpose.

Asking questions

Return to work interviews are a proven way of reducing sickness absence; those tempted to take time off sick fraudulently will most probably be dissuaded if they have to go through this process on their return. Once an employee returns to work after a period of ill health, their line manager should go through this process with them immediately - it should not be left to wait for a few days. This not only ensures that the employee is fit for work, you'll also know quickly whether or not any workplace adjustments are needed to assist them with their return. Our Return to Work Interview Form asks the employee to confirm:

  •       the reason for their absence
  •       whether they sought medical advice, e.g. visited their GP or attended a hospital
  •       if they were prescribed medication
  •       whether they are fully recovered and able to resume normal duties
  •       if any further medical treatment is necessary
  •       whether factors at work may have caused or contributed to their absence.


In addition, the form allows you to record whether the employee complied with your sickness absence reporting procedure, whether their GP or other authorised healthcare professional made any recommendations on a statement of fitness for work (fit note) for a phased return to work or altered hours or duties or workplace adaptations and whether a disability was the reason for, or connected with, their absence. There is also space for you to record the duration of this particular absence, whether it’s part of an overall pattern and their total amount of sickness absence over the past twelve months. If this figure starts wandering into unacceptable territory or there’s a clear pattern to the employee’s absences (for example, they’re always on Monday or Fridays), you can take this up with the employee concerned.


Recording information 

Using this type of form will help to demonstrate that you've put the same questions to every employee who has been off sick. This will be important if you're faced with a discrimination-based claim, e.g. on the grounds of disability or sex. It shows that you've not singled particular individuals out for certain lines of questioning or treatment, i.e. all employees are treated exactly the same.