How employers can prepare for Fit for Work
News compiled from http://fitforwork.org/
By: Lisa Kennery
GPs and employers throughout England and Wales can now refer their employed patients and employees who have been, or are likely to be, off sick from work for four weeks or more for a voluntary occupational health assessment.
Fit for Work is now available for employers up and down the country, meaning that they can refer staff who have been off work sick for four weeks or more to the service. The service is aimed at supporting workers in SMEs to plug the gap in occupational health advice and support provision – as around 70% of employees in England and Wales don’t have access to occupational health and advice.
Fit for Work is predicted to cut sick pay costs to business by £80 million, to £165 million a year. This means that it is something businesses can’t afford to miss out on taking advantage of. Those wanting to use the service often find it good practice to include Fit for Work in their in-house HR policy, and build it into their procedures for dealing with sickness absence.
Employers wanting further advice about referring employees on long-term sickness absence can call the Fit for Work advice line on 0800 032 6235 to speak to a dedicated advisor.
Employees who consent to being referred to Fit for Work will be invited for a telephone assessment by a Fit for Work occupational health professional. This assessment aims to identify all potential obstacles preventing employees from returning to work (including health, work and personal factors). Where appropriate, a Return to Work Plan will be agreed between the advisor and employee.
While aiming to plug the gap in occupational health advice and support for SMEs, Fit for Work can also work alongside existing occupational health provision as it focuses on many different aspects preventing an employee’s return to work, including social and financial factors.
The occupational health professional will identify obstacles preventing the employee from returning to work. A Return to Work Plan will be agreed providing recommendations tailored to the employee’s needs, which can replace the need for a fit note.
How to prepare for making Fit for Work referrals
- Clarify what existing support you already have in place for employees on long-term sick leave and update your HR policy to accept the Fit for Work Return to Work Plans. (For help with updating your absence and HR policies, see the CIPD guidelines.)
- Invite eligible employees in for a discussion about Fit for Work, and refer employees (with their consent) using the employer referral form.
- Spread the word about Fit for Work within your organisation or on your website using some of our online resources (see the employer toolkit for a collection of useful materials available for your use).
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Each year around 865,000 employee absences in England and Wales last for four weeks or more1. 74% of employers in England and Wales feel that if they had more external…
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
A new support service, designed to help working people who face long-term sickness absence return to work more quickly, is now available across the whole of England. The free and…
The scheme is set to affect employers up and down the country, with businesses now beginning to refer their employees to Fit for Work. The events, to be held across England and Wales, will be looking at what these changes mean from a policy and business perspective.
Events will be taking place in:
- West Midlands (Birmingham).
- South Wales (Cardiff and Swansea).
- North Wales (Wrexham).
- Yorkshire & the Humber (Leeds).
- North West (Manchester).
- East Midlands (Nottingham).
- North East (Newcastle).
- South East (Reading, Newmarket and London).
- South West (Bristol).
Business Membership Organisations, Business Member Organisations, Employment Relations Specialists, Employee Representatives, MDs / CEOs, Trade Unions, Health and Wellbeing Boards, Occupational Health Specialists