From 8th September 2015, a new support service called Fit For Work is available to employers in England and Wales.
The service is intended to help the return to work for employees after lengthy sickness absence. It gives access to support from occupational health professionals to employees who have been, or are likely to be absent from work for four weeks or more.
Small to medium-sized business are likely to see the most benefit from the new initiative, as these types of business often have no, or limited access occupational health support.
How Fit For Work is used
The employer refers the employee to the Fit For Work service. Within two working days, the employee will receive a consultation with an occupational health professional. This consultation will discuss any work related, health, or personal issues preventing a return to work. A Return to Work Plan is agreed with the employee, which directs the employee to additional help to overcome difficulties in returning to work. The plan replaces the needed for the traditional ‘fit note’ as it can be relied on as evidence of sickness for pay purposes.
With the employee’s consent, Fit For Work may also work directly with the employer to achieve a return to work.
A telephone and web-based advice service complement the referral scheme. Both of these may be used by employers, employees and GPs to seek work-related health advice.
More information about Fit For Work can be found on the Fit For Work website at fitforwork.org/
Amy Hallam – Director, Employment Law – BRM Solicitors