Estimated return dates.  And how we work them out.

When do you expect to return to work?

A key part of capturing full absence data is knowing when the employee thinks they might be able to return to work. Engage absence registration forms have always had a date input field for the estimated return. However, a lot of absentees struggle to provide an estimated date because their situation can easily change from one day to the next.

Expected Return Date brackets on Engage

To help bridge the gap between employees’ uncertainty and managers’ need to have a better indication of the length of the absence, we have amended the options slightly. The new inputs are:
  • Estimated return date provided by employee
  • 1-3 calendar days
  • 4-7 calendar days
  • 8-14 calendar days
  • More than 2 weeks
  • Already back at work

New estimates are counted from today’s date

The new options will convert to a date entry on the absence record and absence notifications. The system counts 3, 7 or 14 days from the date that the update was made and shows this as the estimated return date. To make it clear to the manager that this date was system-generated, it will be accompanied with a note “employee could not confidently estimate a return date”. This note is visible on the email alerts and in the web portal, but you won’t see it on SMS alerts. If in doubt, check the full absence details in Engage online.

In the above screenshot, you can see an absence alert showing this type of update. As you can see, the absence started in February 2021. This update was logged on 8th March 2021 and the employee has said they expect to be absent for 1-3 days. This means that they will probably be off another 1-3 days from today and that is why the new expected return date is recorded as 11th March.