The Government is to replace sick notes with “fit notes”. The Social Security (Medical Evidence) and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 will come into force on 6 April 2010. Using fit notes will allow doctors to record whether a patient may be fit or not fit for work and will list the common types of changes employers can introduce to assist a return to work either on a phased basis or with amended duties or hours or other workplace adaptations. It is the employer’s responsibility to carry out a risk assessment when the employee returns to work to ensure he or she is then fit for work.

The maximum duration of a fit note is 3 months.

The Department for Work and Pensions has prepared a “Statement of Fitness for Work - Guide for employers”. Complimentary copies are available on request.