The Fit for Work service was launched on 15 December 2014 and has been put in place to offer impartial advice to employers for dealing with long term sickness absence, and to provide very important support and a new approach to dealing with stress related absence.
The service will be introduced on a phased basis and is due to be completed by May 2015. In addition to an online and telephone advice service, FFW will provide free occupational health assessments and return to work plans to assist employees who have been on sickness absence for four weeks or more to return to work.
There are initially two concerns. First of all; that employees will not give their consent and without that a referral to Fit for Work cannot be made. Secondly, is whether case workers will fully understand the employer’s business; the actual job roles or the availability of suitable roles.
Employers should very rapidly consider reviewing their sickness absence policies and procedures and contracts and consider making it an express contractual requirement that employees consent to a referral to the Fit for Work service or indeed any other medical examination required in connection with their employment.
This business development briefing provides details of the government’s Fit for Work service.
Questions about Fit for Work and employee sickness
If you have any questions, or would like any advice about handling situations involving employee sickness and absence, you can call to speak with one of our expert Employment Law solicitors today. We have three main offices in Leicestershire, which you can contact using the details below.