What is a phased return to work?


As a member of school staff you might have a phased return to work after a period of sustained absence from school. 

It might feel daunting to return to school after a long absence and the purpose of a phased return is to ease you back into the work environment gradually and adjust to any changes so it doesn’t have an adverse impact on your health.

You will want to check your school’s sickness absence management policy for the specific details at your setting.

In this article, we explain when you might have a phased return to work, if you receive your normal pay during a phased return and further information.

What is a phased return to work?

ACAS explains a ‘phased return to work’ is when someone who’s been absent might need to come back to work on:

  • Reduced hours
  • Lighter duties
  • Different duties 

For example after a:

  • Long-term illness
  • Serious injury
  • Bereavement

Your occupational health provider will likely recommend you to take a phased return to work. We have published another article which outlines what occupational health is.

Your school will usually agree on a plan for how long this will be for.

For example, they could agree to review how things are going after a month and then decide to increase the working hours or duties, or they might decide they need to stay reduced for longer.

Your school should continue to regularly review your health and wellbeing in the workplace and make new adjustments if necessary.

Do I receive my normal pay during a phased return?

ACAS explains that if you return to normal duties but on reduced hours, you should get your normal rate of pay for the hours you work. Any outstanding statutory sick pay may be used to top up your earnings during your period of phased return. We have published another article which outlines your entitlement to sick pay as a teacher.

What happens if I am unhappy with how my phased return to work has been managed?

If you are an Edapt subscriber you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.