Fitness for Work
Fitness to work is known as a fit note this replaces the old sick note, your GP is the only person that will issue this. The fit note lets the employer know what an employee is able to do rather than what they cannot do. From July 2012 the GP will fill out a computer completer fit note rather than a hand written one, this will cover a period greater than seven days. Hand written fit notes can still be use these tend to be used by hospitals rather than a doctor.
What is different about the fit note?
The sick note would have a statement i.e. ‘you should refrain from work’ or ‘you need not refrain from work’, whereas the fit note offers an option i.e. ‘may be fit for work taking account of the following advice’ then the GP would consider the fitness for work, not the fitness for a specific job that the employee is doing.
A GP might discuss ways of helping the employee to go back to work i.e.
- Workplace adaptions
- Amended duties
- Phased period back to work
- Flexible working
Why is there an option fit for some work?
Many people that work not only go to work for the money, research has shown that work is also good for your health, prolonged sickness can produce its own set of problems.
- Mental health issues
- Loss of confidence
- Social exclusion
Most employers have realised that trying to reduce the level of long tern sickness is all about trying to develop a partnership with the line manager, the employee, the GP, occupational health and the companies HR department.