Understanding your return to work plan

Before you’re ready to return to work, you should start to consider how and when you’re going to return and what changes need to be made to make it safe for you to do so. Your employer, GP and/or occupational health provider can offer you advice and work with you to develop a Return to Work Plan that will take into account how long you’ve been off work and what adjustments need to be made to support you.

Why have a Return to Work Plan?

By having a Return to Work Plan, you can feel confident that your needs are being considered and that there is a process in place to manage your return to work. This reduces any feelings of isolation and uncertainty which can have a negative effect on your recovery.

When to start planning

Ideally, a Return to Work Plan should start to be developed as soon as you go off work. However, your employer might need to wait longer if you’re receiving complicated or extended treatment which could influence your plan.

What should be in your Return to Work Plan?

Your Return to Work Plan should always be specific to you and your job.

Your Return to Work Plan may include:

  • a suggested return to work date;
  • any adjustments or modifications that can help you back to work;
  • changes to working times or shifts;
  • how your return to work will be monitored and reviewed.

Fit for Work assessment

With your consent, your GP or employer may refer you for a Fit for Work assessment for additional support – including a Return to Work Plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.

This Return to Work Plan can be shared with your employer and/or GP, but only with your consent.