When Can I Return To Work After An Injury?
By Lewis Aaliyah. Last Updated 5th April 2023. Have you been injured in a workplace accident? Then you may feel anxious to know what your rights are. “When can I return to work after an injury?” could be a question on your mind. This guide will address any concerns you may have about returning to work after an injury. Moreover, we will explain the eligibility criteria for making an accident at work claim following an injury caused through negligence.
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Services And Information
- Answering Your Question – When Can I Return To Work After An Injury?
- What Is An Injury At Work?
- How Does Your Employer Deal With Absences?
- Returning To Work
- When Can You Return To Work?
- Can I Get Statutory Sick Pay For A Work Injury?
- Your Rights After An Injury At Work
- Injury At Work UK Calculator
- Can Your Employer Dismiss You, If You Claim Against Them?
- Unfair Dismissal And Constructive Dismissal
- What Is The Time Limit For Making A Workplace Accident Claim?
- What Should You Do, Following A Workplace Injury?
- Do You Handle Work Injury Claims With No Win No Fee Agreements?
- Guides Related To When Can I Return To Work After An Injury?
- FAQs About When Can I Return To Work After An Injury?
If you suffer an injury or illness because of an accident at work, you may need to take a leave of absence to recover from your injuries. Can you go back to work after an injury? Yes, if you become well enough to work again, you can return. If your doctor has signed you off work you may need a note from them saying you are able to return.
You can take up to seven sick days off work without having to provide evidence of your condition to your employer. However, you will need to provide a Fit Note if you need to take more than seven days off work. You can obtain a Fit Note from a hospital doctor or GP when you are getting treatment.
Your Fit Note will explain when you could go back to work after an injury or it can say that a doctor will need to review you again. When a doctor issues a Fit Note, they will assess your injuries to determine the following:
- If you are fit for work or not fit for work
- Or, you may be fit for work if your employment is altered.
Conditions To Be Met, For An Employee To Return To Work
You may be able to discuss with your employer suggestions the doctor has made so that you can return to work.
- A phased return to work. This may be that you start working part-time and gradually build your hours back to full time.
- Temporary working different hours
- Support from the employer. For example, if your job is manual handling, avoid heavy lifting for a while.
Your Fit Note will be treated as a statement of being “unfit for work” if your employer cannot accommodate the changes recommended by your doctor.
Paying Employees For A Phased Return To Work
We are often asked, “Do you have to use annual leave for a phased return to work?“. Employers should follow the following protocols when paying an employee for a phased return to work. Firstly, employees who return to their normal duties on reduced hours should receive their normal pay rate for their work hours. However, if employees are entitled to sick pay, they should receive it for the hours they cannot work.
Secondly, employees may receive a different pay rate if given lighter duties after returning to work. If you have come to either of the above agreements with your employer, we recommend asking your employer to put it in writing.
If a worker experiences an accident at work, they can suffer an injury or become ill. According to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, employers have a duty of care towards their workers. Therefore, the employer is legally responsible for their employee’s health, safety and wellbeing as far as is reasonably practicable. The employer’s duty of care applies within the workplace premises and environments that the employer controls.
So, an employer should provide their employee with a safe and hygienic environment inwhich to work. If PPE is a requirement for the employee to do the job safely it should be provided by the employer. For example, employers must provide their employees with appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) if they work with hazardous chemicals.
Moreover, workplace regular risk assessments are key to safe environments. What is the process of carrying out a risk assessment?
- Firstly, an employer will assess its premises to identify possible health and safety hazards. A hazard is a thing that puts employees and visitors at risk of an accident.
- Secondly, a workplace must apply control measures to any hazards they identify. This means that the workplace could remove the hazard or take steps to reduce the risk.
If an employer fails to take appropriate measures to protect its workers from workplace accidents, this breaches their duty of care. Therefore the employer may be held liable for the worker’s injuries. As a result, the employee could claim compensation for their workplace injury.
Contact UK Law today for help starting a workplace accident claim.
There are justified reasons for an employee to take a leave of absence from work. Employers should have an absence policy in place. This policy should set out what the expectations are of the employer and employee when a worker needs to take time off work.
What should employers include in an absence policy?
- The employer should provide the employee with instructions for reporting absences.
- Information about when and how an employee needs to present a Fit Note.
- Instructions on how the employer should keep track of an employee’s absence. For example, using an absence record template.
- Information on how and when the employee should “keep in touch” with their employer during this leave of absence.
- And information on any Employee Assistance Programmes or occupational health programmes that the employer provides.
- Information about how much sick pay the employee is eligible to receive and for how long.
Many people who have had an accident at work ask the question, “When can I return to work after an injury?“. There is a date on your Fit Note, called the “end date”. This is the date when your doctor recommends that you return to work. Sometimes the doctor does not supply this as they may want to assess you before they commit when you should return to work.
However, some people go back to work earlier than the end date on their Fit Note. Why does this happen? Firstly, the worker may have recovered from their injuries quicker than expected, making it safe for them to return to work. Secondly, the worker’s employer may offer them help and support, enabling them to begin work sooner. Can you go to work with an injury? You may be able to go to work with an injury this all depends on individual circumstances. You may need to get a note from the doctor saying you can return early or your employer may ask you to sign a document confirming you are well enough to return early. If there is no end date or your doctor wants to assess you before you return to work they will say so on the Fit Note.
Please be aware; you should only return to work if it is appropriate to do so. For example, your employer can meet the conditions for returning to work as specified by your Fit Note.
We will now answer some frequently asked questions about making a return to work after an accident.
Should I Follow My Doctor’s Advice?
The NHS state that you should not go back to work early if your doctor has advised you to stay at home for the full period of the sick note.
Do I Need A Doctor’s Note?
Workers do not always need a doctor’s note to return to the workplace following sick leave. However, you may only want to return to work if your employer can meet the requirements stated on your Fit Note or you are fully recovered. Your employer may have a return to work after injury policy. This policy may require you to have another medical assessment before you can go back to work.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available to you if your work injury leaves you unable to work for at least 4 days in a row. Your employer pays you £99.35 per week for up to 28 weeks. Agency workers are also entitled to SSP. Amongst providing a fit note from a healthcare professional, there are other eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to receive the statutory amount.
Firstly, you must be classed as an employee and will earn on average at least £123 or more per week. You must also inform your employer that you are unable to come to work before their deadline or by 7 days if they haven’t set one.
If you have been injured in an accident at work and are not receiving SSP from your employer, get in touch and our team can advise you on what steps to take next. They can answer your questions, such as, ‘when can I return to work?’.
The following legislation protects the health and safety of workers in the UK.
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states that employers must provide the following for their workers:
- Safe passageways to prevent slips, trips and falls at work. Therefore floors must be free of hazards.
- Toilet facilities, for their staff.
- Clean and adequate workspace, ventilation and lighting.
The Health And Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992
- Conduct risk assessments to use Display Screen Equipment (DSE) and apply control measures to reduce these risks.
- Allow employees who regularly use DSEs to have adequate breaks.
- Provide eyesight tests and appropriate health and safety information.
The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992
The Personal Protective Equipment At Work Regulations 1992 requires employers to provide workers with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if they need it to do their job safely. The PPE should be provided free of charge “wherever there are risks to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled in other ways”. Examples of PPE include goggles and helmets. Employers should provide instructions on how to use the PPE.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 was put in place helps to reduce manual handling injuries. Employers could do the following to make the working environment safe:
- Conduct risk assessments of manual handling activities. What’s more, employers should consider if a task is suitable for an employee. For example, the employer could consider the employee’s strength and the load they are expected to carry.
- Provide information to workers about how much a load weighs.
- Avoid setting manual handling tasks which may cause injury, where possible.
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 looks to set rules of the safety requirements for equipment. To ensure employees have well maintained and safe equipment an employer may:
- Provide equipment that is safe and suitable for the task that it is being used for.
- That equipment is properly maintained, whatever its age.
- Adequately train and instruct employees on how best to use the equipment.
- And put proper precautions in place to protect employees from dangerous machinery.
You can use the compensation table below to estimate approximately how much compensation you could receive for your injury. The compensation amounts in this table are based on the latest guidelines published by the Judicial College. This document is often used by legal representatives to come to a value for specific injuries.
|Location Of Injury||About This Injury||Amount|
|Moderate Brain or Head Injury (iii)||Harm caused could present as problems with your memory or ability to concentrate. You may find your ability to work has been reduced or otherwise affected.||£43,060 to £90,720|
|Less Severe Brain or Head Injury||Any damage to the brain will be less severe than higher compensation categories. There will be some (but less severe) impact on social and work life. Concentration and memory could be affected.||£15,320 to £43,060|
|Severe Leg Injuries (ii) Very Serious||Serious harm will have been caused to the person. This could lead to lasting problems with mobility in the affected leg(s). A mobility or walking aid could be required.||£54,830 to £87,890|
|Less Serious Leg Injuries (i)||This could present as either a bone fracture or as damages to the soft tissues. The person is not expected to make a full recovery.||£17,960 to £27,760|
|Severe Arm Injuries||The injury will be very severe. The claimant will be left with an arm which is of little use and be only slightly better off than if they had lost the limb through amputation.||£96,160 to £130,930|
|Simple Fractures of the Forearm||Presenting as simple breaks or fractures in the forearm bones.||£6,610 to £19,200|
|Minor Back Injuries (i)||Where the person will make close to a full recovery or where they will fully recovery without the need for surgery in a period between two and five years.||£7,890 to £12,510|
|Minor Back Injuries (iv)||The person should fully recover from their injury in a period of up to three months.||Up to £2,450
There are two types of compensation you could be owed:
- General damages, which is compensation for the harmful effects of your injuries.
- Special damages are to reimburse you for any financial losses incurred because of your injuries.
Special damages that you can claim include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income reimbursement
- Travel Expenses
- Home or car adaptation expenses
- Mobility equipment expenses
- Care expenses
We have included general damages in the table above. However, we have not included any special damages you could claim. Of course, the amount of compensation you receive may vary. If you call UK Law today, an advisor can estimate how much compensation you could claim. Contact us today to speak to an advisor about making a personal injury claim for an accident at work.
Many injured people at work worry that their employer may dismiss them if they claim compensation for their injuries. However, it is grounds for unfair dismissal to fire an employee because they make an honest accident at work claim.
Unfair dismissal is when an employer fires an employee based on unreasonable grounds. For example, an employer fires an employee because they claimed compensation for an accident at work that was not their fault.
On the other hand, an injured employee may experience constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is when an employer treats an employee unfairly to push them to resign. For example, an employer may foster a hostile working environment where colleagues can harass the employee. Or an employer may set injured employee tasks that carry risk, given their injuries. Such as carrying a heavy load, when the employee has a back injury.
Generally, most employees are protected from unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal. If a worker experiences either unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal, they can take their former employer to an employment tribunal. This is a hearing where workers can claim compensation from organisations that have violated employment laws.
Have you experienced unfair dismissal or constructive dismissal after an injury at work? Then you may be owed compensation. Contact UK Law today to discuss the possibility of our panel of skilled solicitors handling your claim.
There is a personal injury claims time limit of three years. Therefore, you must begin your claim within three years from the day your accident took place. Or you must begin your claim within three years from the day that you became aware of your injuries were caused by negligence.
We recommend that you contact UK Law today for your free consultation. Our claims team can advise on your limitation time.
The most important thing is to ensure that you are safe and receive the medical treatment you need. However, you can also take steps to gather evidence at the scene of the accident to help you claim compensation for your injuries.
- Firstly, please seek the appropriate medical treatment for your injuries for health reasons. It is also important to have your injuries diagnosed and treated by a doctor. So your medical records can be used as evidence to support your claim.
- Secondly, please report your injuries to your employer and make sure the details are recorded accurately in the organisation’s accident log book. You can also take other steps to collect evidence. For example, taking photos of the hazard that caused your accident at work.
- Thirdly, contact UK Law to begin your workplace accident claim. We can provide you with free legal advice about claiming. What’s more, our panel of personal injury lawyers can handle your claim, so you receive the compensation that you are owed.
Many choose to have their fee handled on a No Win No Fee basis. A No Win No Fee agreement is a way to fund a personal injury solicitors fee. You will sign a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). The CFA states that you will pay a success fee if your claim is successful. In the unlikely instance that your compensation claim is not successful, you will not have to pay a success fee.
What’s more, No Win No Fee solicitors are the more affordable option for many. This is because the fee is deducted from the claimant’s payout.
To begin your compensation claim for an injury at work, contact us right away.
- Call us on 020 3870 4868
- Ask an advisor, a question, using our Live Support widget
- Or use our online claims form to reach us
We hope this guide has been informative and has answered the question, “When can I return to work after an injury?“. To learn more about claiming compensation for an accident at work, please feel free to look at these guides.
“How will I know if I have broken a bone?” – an NHS guide
We will now answer questions our clients often ask us.
What happens if I can return to work after an injury?
Once you have returned to work after an injury, your workplace may have an absence policy that they follow. What’s more, your employer may have to make reasonable adjustments not to exacerbate your injuries.
Should I return to work after an injury?
If you experience a serious injury, you may be “signed off” by your doctor. This means that you will take a leave of absence from work.
Can an employer refuse a return to work?
An employer can refuse to let an injured employee return to work if the employee is still injured. Or if the employer cannot meet the criteria needed to enable the employee to return to work safely.
Thank you for reading our guide on when you can return to work, after an injury.
Checked by EI.