Fit for Work: Are you Ready? Free Occupational Health for Long Term Absence

BlogHR Advice Posted: Tuesday 3rd March 2015 by

Fit for Work will complement existing occupational health services provided by employers and will particularly benefit employers who currently have limited in-house occupational health services.

Fit for Work is a free occupational health service, and will provide an occupational health assessment and general health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs, after four weeks of absence due to ill health.

After four weeks of sickness, employees can be referred to the service for an OH assessment, the outcome of which should be a Return to Work plan.  Where a Return to Work plan is in place, it will replace the current GP “fit note” in order to certificate an employee’s absence from work.

The process will normally begin with a referral from a GP.  Following four weeks of sickness absence the employee may then be referred for a free OH assessment (by either the GP or the employer).  The employee must agree to participate in the process and is able to withdraw consent at any time.  Following an assessment, a Return to Work plan will be agreed and employers will be encouraged to act on the recommendations and advice, although this will not be mandatory.

There will be a phased roll out of the referral service, taking place over a period of months during 2015.  Employers should consider who will deal with any queries from a Fit for Work case manager and consider whether their sick pay terms should be amended to reflect the new scheme.

If you would like to discuss how this might impact your company, need help with updating employment policies or would like some general advice, contact Alasdair@humanresults.co.uk.

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