23+ Free Return to Work Form Templates (MS Word)

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You have to submit a return to work form upon your return after taking a leave of absence from the organization your work in. Managers must acknowledge his period of absence. After that, discuss it when they return to work. Sometimes, you may have a light conversation with your manager while in some cases you have to submit a return to work letter.

What is a return to work form?

After taking personal or medical leave, you may have to submit a back to work form before you return. In some cases, you just have to submit a doctor’s release form. It is a written authorization given by your healthcare provider. However, before employees can come back to work, most companies would require their employees to present a return to work form.

This form has information about the ability of the employee to return to his work and whether he/she is able to fulfill all of his responsibilities. It also specifies any considerations and restrictions on his normal duties. If an employee comes back without this form then you must send him back until he fulfills all of the requirements.

Moreover, the employee must contact the HR department to confirm his attendance as soon as he/she returns to work. The employee also has to submit additional documentation for the reinstating of his benefits in case an employee takes extended leave.

Can an employer need a doctor’s note to return to work?

This usually depends on the circumstances that prompted the request as well as on the policies of the company. In case, there is a policy that the employee must submit a doctor’s note or a doctor release form then he has to comply. Here are the different types of leaves and whether or not you have to submit a doctor’s note for them;

Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA

In this situation, employers may request for a doctor’s note from their employees. For the purpose of learning more about the disability, the ADA allows employers to ask for relevant information from the employee’s doctor or healthcare provider. By having this information, the employer can identify whether he has to enhance the ADA disability level when the impairment isn’t apparent.

Additionally, to learn more about any accommodation possibilities and functional limitations of the employee, the employer can use the information provided by the doctor. The employer has to only limit his inquiries to the employee’s circumstances that require accommodation.

Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA

In this type of situation, the employers have the right to request for a doctor’s note. To support the need for an FMLA leave, employers can need their employees to acquire a certification from their healthcare provider. A consequent request for this note is also referred to as a rectification request.

Every 6 months or under specific circumstances, employers are allowed to make this request. In addition, after an FMLA leave, if an employee returns to work, the employer may also ask for a fitness-for-duty document. This document confirms that whether or not the employee is fit to go back to work.

Sick leave

Employers may request for a doctor’s note along with the return to work form in case it is a part of their attendance policy. However, they have to apply this practice consistently meaning to all of their employees. The doctor’s note doesn’t have to mention the employee’s diagnosis or medical condition.

The confirmation that a professional healthcare provider like doctor treated the employee is more important information. It should also include any period of restrictions or incapacity relevant to the employee’s work.

The employer can be in violation of certain laws if an employer requests for more information than this particularly when the employee isn’t comfortable sharing such information. Therefore, both employer and employee should acquaint themselves with the laws and restrictions regarding sick leaves.

Worker’s compensation

An employer can generally request for this document following an illness or injury that’s work-related.

Can an employee return to work with restrictions?

While at work, if an employee sustains an injury, then before returning to his normal duties and responsibilities, the employer may want the injury to heal completely. He shouldn’t need any restrictions until he has fully recovered. Unfortunately, this may lead to a violation of the ADA as it is a dangerous practice.

Under the ADA, the employees should receive reasonable accommodations or restrictions in their workplace. Here are some tips that employers must keep in mind in order to avoid any problems. You should also check daily work schedule templates.

Let the employee’s healthcare provider know of his basic job duties

In most cases, the healthcare providers and physicians aren’t informed of their job duties and workplace conditions of their patients. That’s why, it is essential to let them know regarding the basic job duties and the working environment of the employee. Regarding any work restrictions or limitations for the employee, this would makes the healthcare provider able to provide the employer with adequate information.

Consider providing the employee lighter tasks or alternative duties

You may have to consider assigning him with lighter tasks or alternative duties at least of the time being in case an employee returns to work with restrictions. The employee can go back to performing his basic duties when the employee has healed completely.

Give your employee with proper workplace accommodations

You have to follow them as an employer in case an employee displays a return to work form along with a doctor’s release form but with restrictions. This is particularly true if the restrictions are due to a temporary disability. If required, talk to the employee’s physician as to what kind of accommodations your employee may need.


In conclusion, when the employee returns to work after taking personal or medical leave, he has to submit a return to work form. Every company has a different policy regarding the submission of this document.

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