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Return to Work Policy Template for HR

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Aug 28, 2021
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Human Resources fraternities are usually aware of a return to work policy as an unwell employee resumes work after recovery. Their sickness could be a result of being unwell, an injury, or a personal disability.  This could have happened either at work or the employee's end when not working. A return to work policy template ensures that details are captured uniformly to manage correct data and record keeping. This could help in workforce planning.

HR folks may have dealt with a return to office policy cases many times in their career. But nothing would have prepared them for mass numbers trying to return to work from a situation like a pandemic.  During the pandemic, most employees globally were forced to stay back at home due to the infectious nature of the disease. As a result, businesses have defined hybrid work guidelines to assist employees have clarity on what roles could be worked from home to ensure fair treatment.

As companies try to get their business back to normal globally, getting inoculated is a must for most HR to check. Most companies would have a return to work strategy. Such return to work policy sample letters aim to settle employees back into the new normal way of working. They aim to ensure that they do not spread the infection to other employees as employees get back to work.

While earlier a usual certificate of fitness would have sufficed, more is at risk with the pandemic. HR folks must ensure that those employees who have had the Covid are treated with care. How does HR of any company manage such intricate details with large employee numbers? The only solution that can be effective is the Autonomous Hybrid Office.  This is an integrated business solution that helps businesses run effectively.

Components of a Return to Work Policy

Components of a Return to Work policy

Most HR folks maintain the following information when an employee is returning to work.

A return to work (RTW) policy may include employee’s name, employee number, date of being unwell, treating doctor’s name, leave period (duration and date of starting leave), nature of sickness, treatment identified, if there are any restrictions in terms of work and finally a fitness certificate by the doctor when the employee returns to work. Some companies also document an office hoteling policy that is helpful for both returning employees and employers. 

A few procedural elements in the return to work policy template that HR could include are:

1. Immediate reporting of injuries and illnesses to HR

Immediate reporting of injuries and illnesses to HR

Employees must report as soon as they fall ill to their HR team members.  Why? It is important to ensure that the employee receives medical care immediately.  While the main reason for this is from humanity's point of view, at times, the labor laws of the land may apply. If not followed properly, this could impact the company due to negligence.

At times, situations could occur inside a company's premises, for example, food poisoning, any gas being released by mistake while working, or more.

As HR gets notified this in the return to work policy template, they can decide to get the employee to a doctor or hospital. Additionally, immediate steps to prevent the spread of circumstances leading to the injury or accident can be taken up by HR.

2. List of Network Hospitals

If the injury is a workplace, employers are responsible for the employee's well-being. The labor laws could define how a company must find network hospitals to admit the employee for immediate health care.

HR has to have handy a list of doctors, ambulances, and networked hospitals in the return to work policy template to manage such situations.

3. Clarity on treatment and costs

Clarity on treatment and costs

Most labor laws define the terms of conditions of paying the bills of an employee who has fallen ill at the workplace. More often than not, employees are covered for workplace injuries with health care or insurance providers.  However, a workplace injury could have a separate cover.

4. Leave while Recuperation

Workplace injuries, once identified, have special leave approved by the HR officers.  The injured employee gets paid during such leave and does not worry about getting back to work.  For a company, the costs for such treatment and pay during recovery are built into the HR department's budgets under special situations. So, it should be included in the return to work policy template.

5. Jobs bank or transitional tasks

Jobs bank or transitional tasks

HR has a defined list of tasks that an employee could be given for employees returning to work. Why? Labor laws define that a returning to work employee is not put into danger by giving him his regular role/ task, involving working on heavy machines. This could put him and other workers at greater risk should he not have the strength to operate or have a case of nausea or more.  

Employers may sometimes enable an employee's recovery by defining tasks in a remote work policy template.

6. Regular training on return to work policy

Strong HR practices involve maintaining separate records of regular training conducted on the return to work policy. This helps employees understand what must be done when they get a workplace injury or see another employee unwell. In addition, HR must have a sample of return to work letters in the return to work policy template to know they are not being singled out when such letters are given to them. 

Returning to Office from Pandemic

As companies prepare for employees returning from work, it is now mandatory for them to include the following:

Vaccination details

Vaccination details

Details on when an employee has been vaccinated with the first shot, the second shot due, name of medical facility, and more. Such details not only help the HR from compliance but also protect other employees. In addition, many companies that offer services like banking, hospitals, restaurants, and more are using this information to woo customers back.

Workforce planning

hybrid

Knowing the vaccination status of employees helps HR to plan the workforce schedules and more.  When will a batch of employees be going back for their second vaccine shot (if required), how many employees will be available to work, and if some employees could be expected to fall sick; all such information can help businesses plan for work. As companies get into a hybrid office model, workforce planning can ensure that work schedules are met. 

Summary

Return to work policy assists HR and others know what steps must be taken in an unusual situation. Some elements that should be contained in the return to work policy template above are very useful for you. For employees, it is an additional sign that shows that the company cares for their well-being.

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