Connecting to LinkedIn...


Fit notes replace sick notes

Fit notes replace sick notes

The traditional sick note has been replaced by a 'fit note in a bid to help support people who become ill return to work as quickly as possible.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, the introduction of the fit note (a statement of fitness for work) is set to benefit the British economy by an estimated 240million over the next 10 years.

Jenny Murray, managing director of Aberdeen-based human resources consultancy Spectrum HR, explains: The new system will shift the focus away from what is wrong with someone, focusing instead on what they are actually fit to do.

If a person is deemed fit for work, GPs will be able to make recommendations as to the manner of their return i.e. gradual return, reduced hours or amended duties. Research has shown that working can be good for peoples health and the new system aims to help get employees back to work as soon as possible.

Research conducted by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) in 2008 suggests that 172 million working days are lost each year across Britain through sickness absence, costing businesses around 13billion. The new fit note system is expected to cut the costs of sick leave for employers, helping to boost the health of their staff and bring long term benefits to their business.

Employers are not bound to implement the recommendations outlined on the fit notes, however where the individual is disabled under the terms of the Disability Discrimination Act it is necessary to consider reasonable adjustments and it may be difficult for employers to state that the Doctors recommendations could not be implemented.

Any changes to an employees working conditions are likely to be the result of a discussion between both parties as to the options which might be available. Once a decision has been reached, it may be beneficial to clearly outline the agreed outcome in writing to eliminate the possibility of any misunderstanding.

Concerns have been raised as to the fact that GPs will not have detailed knowledge of the workplace and that their instructions will be open to interpretation from managers who may be ill-equipped to deal with the situation. In larger companies it is anticipated that occupational health specialists will take on a more prominent role, however smaller firms may need to look to an outsourced specialist for expert advice, Ms Murray continued.

Spectrum HR assists businesses with employment law advice, absence management, recruitment, redundancy programmes, performance management, training and development and other areas of HR working on both an ad-hoc and long term basis. Founding director Jenny Murray has 11 years of HR experience across private and public sector organisations.


Articles similar to

Articles similar to