From time to time, employees will need a break from their day-to-day tasks to rest, recover, and travel. For these reasons, the employees should submit a return to work letter following company guidelines to their supervisor.
Employers also send a return to work letter to the employee as a welcome note that details the return date, updates on changes in the company and their role, and additional information regarding their triumphant return to work.
This article discusses the importance of a return-to-work letter, its contents, and examples.
What is a Return to Work Letter?
A return to work letter is a document that an employee submits to their supervisor after taking sick or personal leave from the company.
It should also provide details of the approved leave like reason, official leave, return date, appreciation for approval, and any other important information related to their leave status. An employee must submit a return to work letter before resuming their role.
Conversely, a return to work letter is a document that an employer writes to an employee that contains information about the employee’s entitlements following their return from leave. A return to work letter updates the business’s current status and provides information regarding employees’ roles and responsibilities after returning to work.
Employees who submit a valid return to work letter have a better chance of getting approved for future time off. Employers also use this information to judge if an employee can be trusted with leave in the future or not without worrying about any negative consequences. They can also keep track of all employees who have been granted leave, their reasons, and their return date.
A return to work letter from the employer is to extend full support and confidence to the employee. A return to work letter from the employer acts as an official statement of the approval for the employee’s return to their roles. It also helps the employer communicate the expected return schedule for the employee and establish the employee’s competence to resume their official capacity, especially if they were absent for serious medical reasons.
If You Are an Employee
It is advisable to create a return to work letter as an employee because it is one of the essential documents that a manager needs to consider planning for your return to work.
Creating an effective communication tool should be your objective as an employee returning from an absence to work. Some of the things you need to keep in mind before crafting a return to work letter include:
Request a phased return
You do not have to return to work at once, significantly if your leave does not fully recover you. Instead, you can propose a phased return where you ease your way back into your duties and responsibilities. For example, you can take up minor tasks and gradually take up more significant tasks with time. Phased return can also involve resuming part-time, several days a week, or limited hours per day.
Stay in touch while you are away
You should stay in touch with the work environment and your supervisor while you are away. You can remain in contact by sending emails, phone calls, or regular updates. This allows you to remain up to date with the happenings at your workplace and ease the transition after you re-join. If regular communication is impossible, plan a meeting with your supervisor right before returning to work.
Make you are up to date with everything happening at the workplace, whether it is operations, deadlines, new training, revised procedures, etc. This will allow you to come back fully prepared, specifically if your company is in the midst of a critical project or a significant change.
Keep records of your absence
Takedown all the crucial records about your absence, including the details of your medical condition or leave approved by the employer. In addition, documents such as employment insurance benefits forms and receipts can be kept.
Meet with the doctor
An employee on medical leave must have a doctor’s note stating that they are entirely fit to resume work. This is necessary because many employees take a break from their careers without formal authorization. The supervisor may come across such a case and not be aware that the employee is on leave for a prolonged time. The employer must also be informed about the duration and reasons for your absence and when recovery is expected.
Ask for help
Seek help from co-workers, HR and supervisor when transitioning back to work. For example, identify who has fulfilled your role and consult them on any queries you may have about ongoing projects.
How to Write a Return to Work Letter?
You need to present as much information as possible in the letter, including the date of your leave, the reason for leave, and the expected return time.
The process of creating such a letter can be done in the following steps:
Address the letter to the right person
A formal return to work letter should be addressed to the person with authority and not the colleague. More often than that, the recipient will be the person who approved your leave. If you are working for a large-scale company, you can address it to the HOD instead of your supervisor. Ensure the name, designation, and contact details are captured accurately.
Thank them for authorizing your leave
Include a thank you note with the return to work letter. Sending a thank-you note allows you to let them know how you are recovering and your readiness to return soon. This section of a return to work letter can also be used to update the recipient on what you’ve been doing during leave, whether it’s recovery plans, learning new skills, or any major notable event. In addition, showing you were productive in this section can prepare your supervisor on how best to incorporate you into the team.
Reason for absence with proper documentation
After thanking your employer, explain why you had to take a leave, try to justify with specific details as per the company’s rules and regulations, if there are any. Provide documentation that supports your recovery process, such as a note from your physician or therapist. This can include a doctor’s release letter that states you are fit to return to work or company forms you must fill out before and after your absence from work.
Explain how you plan to catch up
In this section, you must communicate your plan of returning in a phased manner or if you will be returning on set dates. This can include getting back to the office at a specific time, having meetings with colleagues, making an effort to attend meetings or undertaking courses to get new skills. Such plans help the company plan when and how they will incorporate you into the team.
Close with a thank you
Close your return to work letter with an expression of thank you for being understanding, patient, and flexible during your absence. This helps the employer know your appreciation. In addition, it is a common professional courtesy to thank someone for their time and effort and any help extended during the time of absence.
Return to Work letter Template
Dear Sir/Madam [Name of supervisor or HR representative],
Thank you for authorizing my leave of absence. I have been following my doctor’s instructions during my absence, and I am glad to say that I’m ready to resume work on [date].
During my absence, I have kept myself updated with [projects, clients, or responsibilities] by [keeping in touch with colleagues, studying/training]. Therefore, I’m adequately informed and ready to get back to work. Thank you and the company for your understanding and patience during my absence.
I anticipate resuming my role as soon as possible, and thank you for your understanding and patience.
Return to Work Letter Sample
3rd April 2022
Dear Mrs. Hannah Sanders,
Thank you for being understanding while I was away. I hope to return to work on 20th April. I am fully recovered now and ready to start my duties again. As you know, my absence was due to my son’s surgery. He is now fully fit and healthy, and we are looking forward to moving ahead in life apace. I have attached all the vital documents as supporting evidence.
I will connect with you before I return to work to ensure all necessary arrangements have been made. I look forward to returning and playing my part in this company.
Thanking you in advance for your cooperation.
Martin, Matthew C.
Return to Work from Employee
Given below are free templates of return to work letter from employee:
If You Are an Employer
Employers should send a return to work letter to employees as they return to official duties after an absence from work. It can be challenging when employees cannot find their way back into their previous positions or gain new positions in new departments. Therefore, showing support can go a long way in ensuring they are back to being productive.
Note: Develop a plan. Employers ought to have a plan to help employees transition back into their previous roles and compensate for the loss of work. If the employee is on long-term leave, employers can expect that they will need time to complete an initial return to work plan. The return to work plan should consider schedule, accommodations, workload, and possible gaps in skills and how this may impact the employee’s ability to succeed in their role. Scheduling covers whether the employee will be back on full-time or part-time or an adjusted schedule. Accommodations cover any adjustments that have to be made in the workplace to accommodate the employee, such as access channels, installation of new equipment, etc. Workload covers the duties and functions of the employee’s role, whether they need to be adjusted.
What to Include?
The letter welcoming employees from leave should be comprehensive and cover any critical information relayed to the employee. Employers should include the following in their return to work letter:
The letter should be a formal note to the employee. The details include their name, department, and title. This section can also contain the Employee’s ID, reference number of furlough or leave notice number, and job classification, whether full-time or contractual.
In the introductory paragraph, explain why you are writing the letter and communicate your welcome to the employee. It is very important for you as an employer to support your employee’s recovery and willingness to reintegrate into their job role after prolonged leaves such as maternity or paternity leave. This can include your sincere appreciation for their cooperation with the company procedures and its benefits, such as job performance and employee morale.
Expected date and time of joining
This section lets the employee know the expected date and time of joining work. This helps them prepare mentally to go back and be productive and inform HR so they can update their files regarding the employee’s return.
Next, share some updates about the team, projects, or events. This will help your employees catch up on things that have occurred while away. This includes updates on changes in company policies, work schedules, relocations, work modes like working from home, etc.
Revised roles and responsibilities
The return to work letter should also highlight the roles and responsibilities of the employee in the department. This helps them to understand whether they will resume their previous responsibilities and if they are required to take on new roles. The letter should also update whether there have been any changes or promotions in their job roles and responsibilities. This can include if the employee has been given a different task or promoted to a higher position or an additional role such as a team leader, supervisor, or manager added to their job descriptions.
Also, include an update on their workload, the number of hours, overtime commitments, and the employee’s preferred mode of correspondence, such as email or instant messaging. Finally, this section should consider doctor-recommended work restrictions. This helps the employee to refresh their knowledge and prepare for their roles.
This should list any changes to the salary of a returning employee as a result of their absence due to furlough or long-term leave. Whether an employee was on sabbatical, sick or maternity leave, or on break in service, they may not have been paid by the company while away from work. This section should state how much will be deducted due to any loans taken during their absence.
How you will facilitate their return
In this section of the letter, you can state how you will help the employee get back on track and get their duties done. You can mention anything from the rescheduling of meetings, providing additional support such as access to work-related data from home, retraining, or setting up a schedule for frequent follow-ups to help them get caught up with their work.
Expectations from employee
Lastly, include instructions on what needs to be done before returning to work, i.e., sign forms, medical documentation, additional training required, contact HR, etc.
Return to Work Letter Template
Dear employee’s name]
This letter officially acknowledges receipt of your updated return to work timeline for your role in [Department name] under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). We are glad to understand that you have listed an expected start date for this role of date] and welcome you back to this team.
Let me inform you that we have been closely following the progress of your recovery from your recent leave. I hope it was successful, and such a long absence hasn’t affected your performance on the job.
We are incredibly pleased to have you back as a valuable member of our team. The responsibilities and compensation of your role as [title] have not undergone any changes, and we are glad to inform you that your current departmental roles will continue to remain the same. We are excited to welcome an employee like you into our family again.
Before restarting your job, you will need to attend the training sessions planned by [HR department name], so please contact [Employee name] in HR for the training dates. They will be your point person as you transition back into the company.
Kindly submit a [document such as a doctor’s note, work release form, etc.] to HR before reporting to work.
We hope you will be able to start on the proposed date, and we wish you a successful and happy return.
HR Manager or Team Leader or Supervisor name
Return to Work Letter Sample
Dear Jane Doe,
We hope you’ve had a pleasant time during your maternity leave, as we planned. We are happy to hear that you will be re-joining us. You can now resume your responsibilities and duties on 8th April 2022, which will be discussed with you shortly when you report for duty.
Please note that all the commitments made during your absence will be honoured. However, there have been changes in various policies and procedures. We want to inform you about it to ease your transition back into work. Attached is a copy of the revised Company ABC Employee Conduct and Work procedures which you must read and sign. We will also encourage you to sign the maternity performance plan, which will help us track your achievements and goals after you return.
You shall resume your role as R&D Manager to perform the duties and responsibilities stipulated under work procedures. Compensation will be restored to the amount agreed on your contract of employment.
We hope that we will have your support to continue creating a productive work environment. Please stay in touch with us as we look forward to welcoming you back. Thank you for understanding and accepting our rules and regulations described above.
You are expected to submit the following;
A signed release form from a doctor
A signed Employee Conduct and Work Procedures handbook
The HR department will formally contact you on 10th April 2022 for assistance on how to efficiently resume your role.
Return to Work from Employer
Given below are free templates of return to work letter from employer:
Return to work letters should effectively communicate the required information as the employee returns to work. Some of the tips for crafting a solid return to work letter include:
Use a positive tone
Write in a positive and proactive tone. The employer and employee should thank each other for their cooperation, patience, and understanding.
Set clear expectations
With the employee being away for a significant time, they may have forgotten several things about their work. The letter should act as a reminder of the basics. The employer should remind the employee of any policies regarding smoking and use of company vehicles on company premises, list the tasks and responsibilities of their role, and make sure to update them on any changes in pay, new positions or roles, etc. in the letter.
Communicate your initiatives
It’d be best to take the initiative to accommodate the employee’s return. These initiatives can be outlined in this section. In addition, the initiatives can be presented as FAQ addressing how you’ve made plans to make it easy for the employee to return to work.
You should be empathetic with your returning employee. You need to be kind, open, and honest and show your understanding of their situation.
Respect their privacy
It’s crucial to ensure that the employee’s privacy is respected. During their absence, the employee may have experienced many personal difficulties, and the company is not obliged to know the details. So, do not ask highly personal questions. If specific details about a medical condition were not provided in the doctor’s note, more than likely, the employee does not want it to be shared.
The information provided in this article offers a glimpse into what a return to work letter should include. A return to work letter is a simple yet effective document to send out to an employer upon return from leave. Also, when an employee is returning from a long-term leave such as maternity, the employer needs to be proactive and provide an adequate return to work letter. This letter can make the transition from their absence to their return easier. Unfortunately, employers often overlook these letters, which can leave employees coming back from long-term absences feeling alienated and unimportant. It aims to keep track of their healthcare and financial welfare during their leave and help them get mentally prepared for the new role and get back to work for them.