Are you required to check a doctor’s note when an employee returns to work?

Person writing on a form

This is an interesting question we were asked at our business briefing in Liverpool last week:

Q. If an employee has been off sick with a doctor’s note and comes back to work saying they feel well enough, do I have to check with the doctor that they should be at work?

A. Legally you aren’t required to do anything, however we would advise you always conduct a return to work interview. You may wish to undertake a risk assessment depending on the nature of the illness. Ensure you understand the illness, your employee’s current health including any medication they may need to take and if they are still able to carry out their existing role/hours.

As an employer you wouldn’t want to risk having an employee back at work too soon as it could:

  • Prolong their recovery
  • Depending on the sickness they could infect other employees/customers/people in their care
  • Have an accident at work due to resulting medication they are required to take

A return to work interview should answer any questions you have. We would also advise you to document the meeting with both of you signing it in agreement all is factually correct.

Do you have an employee on sick leave? Understanding your rights as an employer when it comes to sick leave is a hot topic at our nationwide roadshow of events. To find the next event in your area, visit our events page.

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