One of my clients has a long serving employee who has had an operation, in fact two operations on the same leg. He rushed back to work after the first operation, which meant he had to have another operation. After the second operation we were very careful about making sure he did not come back until he was fully recovered. We didn’t want him to have yet another operation. What we hadn’t reckoned with was his boredom at home. He then came to us and said that he would come in for the first two hours of the day. He didn’t want to be paid, and he would only do some work if he “felt like it” – he just wanted to get out of his house and get used again to work. And he would increase his hours “when he felt he could”.
Now we did want to help this guy back to work, but work is work, for money. So him offering to come in as a volunteer, whilst still signed off sick, was just not on. Either he was fit to undertake “light duties” or he wasn’t. And we really didn’t want an employee “officially” sitting around, not having to do any work. We have enough problems with staff thinking that they are the only ones working in the company, they don’t need another example of that!
So we are now going to have a sit down meeting with him. My recommendation is that we not only request a GP’s report but also an Occupational Health assessment before we let him back to work.
And as regards the phased return, we will be using a structure, even if it is just 2 hours a day for a fortnight, 4 hours the next, and so on. With the option to change it if he feels it is becoming too much. I’ll let you know how it works out!