Sickness absence: What will 'fit for work' mean for employers?

By Farleys Solicitors LLP

07 Jan 2015

Every year 130 million days are lost due to sickness absence which costs the UK economy a startling £100 billion.

Sally Eastwood, Employment Solicitor at Farleys, looks at the government’s new scheme to tackle workplace sickness absence and how it will impact employers.

A government report into sickness absence in the work place revealed that between September 2010 and October 2013 960,000 employees were absent from work due to sickness for a month or more. High rates of employee absence are a concern for employers and business owners due to the significant costs and resource disruption.

Following a major review into workplace sickness absence in 2011 a number of recommendations were made. One key recommendation is to create a government-funded occupational health assessment service for employees that are absent from work due to sickness for 4 weeks or more which is expected to be introduced this year. The aim of the assessment is to help employees return to work at the earliest opportunity following an illness as well as offering both employers and employees assistance and advice concerning sickness absence in an attempt to reduce costs to both businesses and the tax payer.

Private company Health Management Limited have been selected to provide the “Fit For Work” service which is expected to fully implement the service over the coming months. The “Fit for Work” service will provide the following: An occupational health assessment will be scheduled when an employee reaches, or is expected to reach, more than 4 weeks’ sickness absence. This will usually come via a referral made by the employee’s GP. A return to work plan that will be shared with the employer and GP. Each employee will be allocated their own individual case manager to support them through the assessment process to ensure their level of need is correctly identified along with the appropriate steps to help them return to the workplace. Employers, employees and GPs will have wider access to general health and work advice via the telephone and a website. Where the employee is undergoing medical treatment following the recommendation of the “Fit for Work” service or an employer arranged occupational health service they will receive a tax exemption of up to £500 on payments. The introduction of the “Fit for Work” service will not involve any formal changes to the law and will only be implemented where it compliments an employer’s existing capability and sickness absence procedures. However, concerns have been raised about the suitability of the procedures. Perhaps the most significant is the quality of the service to be provided. For example, it has been suggested that some interviews will take place by telephone rather than face to face. Some employees may not feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues on the phone.

Latest news

1

Breck to deliver £150m of affordable homes over four years Breck Development In Progress

Breck to deliver £150m of affordable homes over four years

18 Jul 2024

2

Business board launches to support county's economic growth Lancashire Business Board

Business board launches to support county's economic growth

18 Jul 2024

3

Thirteen new contract wins in three months for seoBusiness SeoBusiness Contract Wins

Thirteen new contract wins in three months for seoBusiness

19 Jul 2024

4

Blackburn Hotspots: Filling a big hole Blackburn Hotspots Lineup

Blackburn Hotspots: Filling a big hole

19 Jul 2024

5

GoDaddy chief returns to Lancaster to collect honorary degree Aman Bhutani

GoDaddy chief returns to Lancaster to collect honorary degree

19 Jul 2024

Bec Web Strip 980x120
Background image for hub sign up block

LBV Hub

Leverage Lancashire Business View platforms

Post your news
Post your events
Post your offers
Build your network
Improve your SEO
Gain coverage in the magazine
Sign-up
Events
Lancashire Built Environment Conference
BEC 315 X 315 Px
Networking
25 Sep 2024

Lancashire Built Environment Conference

Conference and Exhibition Centre, Winter Gardens Blackpool, FY1 1HL

08:30 - 13:00

RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers
WENDY BOWERS RISE Illustrstion copy.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Seminars
11 Jun 2024 - 04 Dec 2024

RISE - The Academy for Female Leaders and Managers

East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Clayton le Moors, BB5 5JR

09:00 - 16:30

Business Networking in Fylde, Blackpool
Blackpool Fylde Image.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Networking
19 Jul 2024

Business Networking in Fylde, Blackpool

Village Hotel Blackpool, Blackpool, FY3 8LL

07:30 - 09:30

What are Menopause Action Plans & How to Write One
Menopause Action Plan 2024.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
19 Jul 2024

What are Menopause Action Plans & How to Write One

~ Online ~, ~ Online ~, ~ Online ~

12:30 - 13:00

Skills Bootcamp in Procurement - Cohort 1
Blue-Modern-Land-Travel-Youtube-Thumbnail-2-1024x576.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
30 Jul 2024 - 08 Oct 2024

Skills Bootcamp in Procurement - Cohort 1

Community & Business Partners CIC, Blackburn, BB2 3UA

09:30 - 13:00

Preston Freelancer MeetUp and Coworking Day
Screenshot 2024-06-13 at 13.55.10.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
30 Jul 2024

Preston Freelancer MeetUp and Coworking Day

Society1 Coworking Space, Preston, PR1 3LT

10:00 - 12:00

Chamber Breakfast Networking
Chamber Logo1.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
31 Jul 2024

Chamber Breakfast Networking

Pye Motors, Morecambe, LA3 3PF

08:00 - 10:00

Scaling your revenue: From zero to £1m in 60 months
CBP-logo LBV.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
31 Jul 2024

Scaling your revenue: From zero to £1m in 60 months

Online, Online, Online

08:00 - 09:30

Online Women's Health Clinic
clinic.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
06 Aug 2024

Online Women's Health Clinic

x, Online, x

12:00 - 12:00

International Coworking Day Open Day
1.png.png
LBV Hub Social
09 Aug 2024 - 09 Aug 2024

International Coworking Day Open Day

Society1 Coworking Space, Prestin, PR1 3 LT

10:00 - 13:00

Knowledge & Networking: Basic Digital Marketing
Chamber Logo1.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
12 Aug 2024

Knowledge & Networking: Basic Digital Marketing

Lancaster Golf Club, Lancaster, LA2 0AJ

14:00 - 13:00

Understanding Menopause
menopause.png.png
LBV Hub Webinar
15 Aug 2024

Understanding Menopause

x, Online, x

12:30 - 13:15

Advertise with us

Reaching 50,000 members, our print, digital and event platforms offer a fantastic way to raise your business profile and help you grow.

Find out more LBV116 Online Graphic
Subscribe now

Weekly news bulletin