News

Following confirmation that the current sick note scheme is to be replaced with 'fit notes' on 6th April 2010, the Government has published a detailed guide on the new system.

Implications

The introduction of fit notes represents a radical change to the current system of sick notes which classified employees as either 'fit' or 'unfit' for work. By allowing GP's to suggest changes to the employees' jobs to assist them to return to work, fit notes are designed to prompt discussion between employer and employee about the adjustments which would enable the employee to return to work.

The Government's guide contains detailed advice on what information will be included on the new fit note and how the new system will operate in practice. Therefore many employers will find the guide useful and will want to ensure that those responsible for the administration of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and line managers are aware of its advice.

The guide can be accessed on line at www.dwp.gov.uk/fitnote  

Details

As reported in our Howes Percival Newsflash on 8th February 2010, the Government will replace the current sick note system with fit notes on the 6th April 2010. The new system is not being phased in and so from the 6th April 2010 employers will only receive the new fit notes in respect of any employees signed off sick on or after this date.

The Government's guide 'Statement of Fitness for Work – A Guide for Employers' has been produced in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personal Development (CIPD), the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and ACAS.

It includes:-

  • Details of what is new about the fit note system.
  • Why the system is being introduced.
  • A detailed description of the new fit note form.
  • Examples of what is meant by the terms used in the fit note like 'phased return' and 'altered hours'.
  • Practical case studies.
  • Frequently asked questions about fit notes.