Helping People Recover

Absence and return to work.

Sometimes employees who experience mental health problems will need to take time off work to get better. Employers should provide the support people need while they’re off sick and on their return to work. Adopting supportive policies will help you to reduce sick leave, retain valued employees and also meet your legal obligations.

Your approach will be informed by the nature of the problem and the number of days spent away from work recovering. It is important to maintain close contact with anyone off sick, but not to put pressure on them to return before they are ready.


Understand your obligations as an employer

  • Ensure you are familiar with all your legal obligations under the Equality Act.

Understand what resources are out there to help

  • Ensure you are aware of the range of support that Fit for Work and Access to Work provide.
  • Turn to these support frameworks when an employee is off sick.

Follow the recommended support protocols

  • Follow the tips on the following page, developed by the HSE.
  • Use the Fit for Work programme to support employees.

Record sickness absences

  • It is important to know the cause of sickness absence, in case it is work-related.
  • If it is, you can put in place organisational measures, i.e. modified work, including reasonable adjustments that will help them and those who are sick in the future to return to work.