Leave Monitoring and Return to Work

Department Responsibilities

The HR Representative is responsible for ensuring appropriate documentation and communication has occurred when employees have a need for absence for health-related reasons. It can become complex to track multiple dates for employees who are required to return documentation to support need for leave or ability to return to work, or who need to be notified of leave status exhaustion.

Leave Tracking Resources

Strategies that can be used to ensure compliance with policies and regulations:

  • For smaller departments with a few employees on leave, the Outlook calendar can be used to set reminders, set up tasks, and schedule times to contact employees or to send communication related to leave, or to follow up with supervisors to ensure employees have returned to work with appropriate documentation.
  • For larger departments, a spreadsheet may be helpful to track deadlines, dates of return, dates of exhaustion, etc. Click the link titled Office spreadsheet iconLeave Tracker Template (xlsx) also available in Templates to see an example of how Excel can be used to keep updated information for all employees absent for health reasons. A spreadsheet can be sorted by date for a quick review of upcoming deadlines.
  • For organizations with large and complex needs, a database (such as Microsoft Access) can be created to allow aggregate tracking of information. This is helpful if multiple staff require access to the same information electronically.

Leave monitoring requires notification of missed deadlines, as well as exhaustion of approved leave. For more information regarding requirements for exhaustion, see the Communication and Forms and Templates sections of this website. FSDS is available for consultation regarding best practices in tracking leave/documentation requirements.

Return to Work

Communication with an employee on leave, if sought with a positive intent, can help employees feel more connected to the team, allowing them to learn of changes or updates during their absence. Additionally, the HR Representative or supervisor may learn that an employee may be able to return to work at an earlier date if there are job duties that can be performed before full release.

If an employee provides medical documentation indicating restrictions upon a release to return, HR staff should review the restrictions against the job description or Essential/Marginal Job Function Analysis to determine if the restrictions can be accommodated on a temporary basis, i.e., less than several weeks.

If a temporary accommodation can be made, the department should document the restrictions, the accommodations that allow the employee to perform the work and/or the duties that cannot be performed with accommodation and will be waived during this temporary period , and the date that follow up medical information is to be received. If the restrictions do not have an end date or next appointment for evaluation, departments should communicate with the employee to determine if the restrictions are temporary or permanent, and learn of an end date or consider a permanent request. To document temporary restrictions and accommodation, use the FileTemporary Restricted Work Plan Letter (docx). Again, if the restrictions are permanent or no defined duration is provided, refer to the Disability section.

If an employee has returned from leave and safety concerns are observed that may be related to the health condition for which they were absent, contact a Senior HR Representative or FSDS to discuss options.

Performance Concerns with Knowledge of Health Condition

When performance, behavioral or attendance concerns are observed and the department or any member of management has knowledge of a previous or current health condition, contact FSDS to consider options.

FSDS will guide communication and follow up to determine if the health condition is impacting workplace observations. If safety concerns are observed which may be related to the health condition, contact a Senior HR Representative or FSDS immediately to consider options.