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Long-term sickness meeting guide

Managers should follow the guidelines below when conducting a long-term sickness absence meeting.

Prior to the meeting

The meeting should be arranged verbally or via email by the manager with the member of staff giving at least 14 days notice of a stage one or two formal review meeting. Seven days notice must be provided for any subsequent wellbeing meetings.

Prepare and review:

  • sickness date and dates of previous reviews
  • sickness indicators inline with the Trust procedure
  • half or no pay situation
  • Occupational Health reports
  • any previous support that has been requested or offered
  • GP notes received and expiry date


  • Acknowledge everyone present in the meeting (and confirm they are happy to proceed if unaccompanied)
  • Explain the purpose of the meeting (i.e. to discuss the ongoing sickness absence and review if any support can be provided by the Trust)
  • Confirm the reason for current absence from work such as symptoms, treatment and changes
  • Ask the member of staff how they are currently feeling
  • Provide the member of staff with an opportunity to discuss their health and any support they require
  • Confirm the sickness start date and receipt of GP notes
  • Check over the letter from last meeting and ask for any relevant updates

General wellbeing

Discuss what support the staff member is receiving:

  • GP appointments
  • hospital appointments
  • counselling
  • medication
  • review appointments

Occupational Health

  • If a referral has not yet been made to Occupational Health, then discuss arranging a management referral as a measure of support
  • If you are in receipt of recent Occupational Health advice, discuss any reports with them
  • Ask what support they require which you could provide
  • If the staff member failed to attend any appointments, discuss the reasons why

Other supportive measures

  • Discuss any adjustments which may enable them to return back to work
  • If they are unable to currently return to existing duties, are there any other roles that could be carried out on a temporary basis during recovery
  • Refer to Trust health and wellbeing initiatives (i.e. Staff Support, Physiotherapy, Mindfulness, Chaplaincy etc.)
  • If it is relates to work stress – has a stress work assessment been undertaken?

Return to work

  • Ask about the likelihood of a return date or if the absence is likely to be extended
  • If the staff member is looking to return to work, discuss any phased return plans and confirm dates

Sick pay and annual leave

  • Clarify sick pay entitlement, dates of half and no pay
  • Clarify annual leave entitlement
  • Reiterate that the aim is to support them back to work at the Trust

Any other concerns

  • If GP notes are not arriving in a timely manner, or Occupational Health appointments are not being attended, this must be discussed at the meeting
  • Any communication issues during the absence must also be addressed

Closing the meeting

  • Discuss absence indicators and confirm if the employee would be on stage one, two or three
  • Agree further review date if required (monthly wellbeing meetings)
  • Agree on the frequency of communication by calling in person
  • Follow up the meeting with a documented letter. Retain a copy in the staff member's personal file and send a copy to First Contact or the allocated HR advisor and staff member
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