Preparing for a return to work interview

The period before you return to work after ill health or injury can be a happy but nervous time. There’ll be a lot to take in and talk about as you adjust to a new routine and being back in the workplace. Your employer should make time to talk to you to check you are coping well and are not feeling overwhelmed. This could be an informal catch-up in the weeks before you return or a formal return to work interview in the days after.

What is a return to work interview?

A return to work interview is an opportunity for your employer to:

  • welcome you back and find out how you’re feeling;
  • update you on any news, or changes, while you were off;
  • talk about the Return to Work Plan and find out if you’re happy with the adjustments and timelines proposed;
  • ask about any other health and safety issues that are a concern now that you’re back at work.

This is also a good opportunity to talk about any other problems you might be having at work or home, such as bullying or concerns over money or housing.

Anything you tell your employer is confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone without good cause.

How to prepare

Even though your interview will be led by your employer, it’s important that you prepare to talk about your reason for being off work and any problems you’re still dealing with.

To prepare for your interview:

  • read over your Return to Work Plan and have a copy with you at the interview;
  • read through all correspondence you have had with your GP and employer;
  • read through your company’s sickness absence policy and your contract of employment;
  • think about what kind of questions you will be asked and prepare some answers;
  • prepare some questions to ask your employer — these could be about your Return to Work Plan, your new workload or using occupational health.