Talking openly and honestly to your employer about your health is just as important when you’re off work as it is when you’re at work. Your employer needs to understand how you’re feeling and how it is affecting you so you can get the support your need to get back to work as soon as possible.
Talking to your employer while off work
Staying in regular contact with your employer keeps you connected to your place of work, helping you stay motivated and recover quicker.
Many organisations require their staff to contact them while absent from work. How you stay in touch, and how often you should talk to your employer, should be recorded in your sickness policy, contract of employment or staff handbook. If you are in doubt about procedures, talk to your employer to find out what you need to do.
What should you tell your employer?
While off work, your employer should be in contact regularly to find out:
- how you’re feeling and if you’re getting better;
- if there is anything they can do to help;
- if you’re ready to start to plan your return to work.
You should tell your employer:
- about your condition and any treatment you’re receiving;
- how long your doctor has advised you could be off work sick;
- about any other problems that could stop you returning to work.
You should also ask them for news and updates from work so that you feel connected to your team and motivated to return.
If your employer does not contact you regularly, you should make a point of getting in contact so that informed decisions can be made about your needs.
If your organisation offers occupational health services, you should contact them while off work to discuss how you can return to work safely and what adjustments your employer might need to make. Your employer or GP may ask you to consider a referral to the Fit for Work assessment service, including a Return to Work Plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.
Find our more about occupational health.
Advice and support while off work
If you feel you need some support when talking to your employer, your local Citizens Advice branch can help. You can also get advice about any problems stopping you returning to work such as worries over debt or homelessness.