Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

Roll out of Fit for Work Service

FGS - Fit for WorkSUMMARY: Fit for Work Service goes live for GP referrals. Employer referrals will be available by autumn 2015.

Fit for Work (FFW) Service

The FFW Service will provide a free and confidential occupational health assessment service, as well as general health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs.

The aim is to:

How will it work?

All GPs can now refer employees for an occupational health assessment to obtain specialist independent and objective advice.

Whilst employers will not be able to directly use the referral scheme until later this year (autumn 2015), they could start to receive return to work plans from employees who have been referred by their GPs.

There is no restriction on how many times employees can be referred. An employee can however only be referred for one assessment in any 12 month period.

When will the referral be triggered?

A referral will be possible once the employee has been absent for four weeks. If clear at the outset that the employee will be off work for more than four weeks, then an early referral can be made.

An employer can only refer after four weeks. The employee’s explicit and informed consent to not only the referral, but also to their personal information being shared, will need to be obtained.

When making referrals, employers do not need to contact the employee’s GP before doing so.

Any decision to refer will be dependent on the employee’s consent and that there is a reasonable likelihood that the employee is going to be able to return, at least on a phased basis.

Where there are duplicate referrals (GP and employer) they will be combined.

What will the FFW Service provide?

Once the referral has been made, the following will occur:

GPs, employees and employers will also have access to more general advice via the telephone and a website.

Are there any other benefits for the employer?

A tax exemption of up to £500 (per annum for each employee) on payments for medical treatment recommended by the FFW Service, or an employer arranged occupational health service will also be available to employers.

Does this mean that as an employer we do not have to follow any absence management procedures?

The FFW Service is intended to complement rather than replace existing occupational health provisions.

If you are considering dismissing an employee who has been off sick long term, it is important that a proper process is still followed, including obtaining appropriate medical advice, discussing this advice with the employee and considering alternative employment. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that if the employee has a disability, the obligations under the Equality Act 2010 are satisfied, which may include the need to make reasonable adjustments to the individual’s work environment or duties to support a return to work.

Whilst employers will still need to follow fair procedures and act reasonably and in a non-discriminatory way, it is hoped that early independent intervention under the FFW Service will lead to more employees returning to work sooner. The FFW Service will be particularly useful for those employers who do not have ready access to occupational health advice.

Contact Details

For solutions to managing your workplace sickness absence problems, please contact us:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44(0) 808 172 93 22

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.

Updated: by FG Solicitors
Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

ROLL OUT OF FIT FOR WORK SERVICE

FGS - Fit for WorkSUMMARY: Fit for Work Service goes live for GP referrals. Employer referrals will be available by autumn 2015.

Fit for Work (FFW) Service

The FFW Service will provide a free and confidential occupational health assessment service, as well as general health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs.

The aim is to:

  • help an individual stay in or return to work and prevent sickness absence recurring; and
  • allow an employer to manage the impact sickness absence can have on its business.

How will it work?

All GPs can now refer employees for an occupational health assessment to obtain specialist independent and objective advice.

Whilst employers will not be able to directly use the referral scheme until later this year (autumn 2015), they could start to receive return to work plans from employees who have been referred by their GPs.

There is no restriction on how many times employees can be referred. An employee can however only be referred for one assessment in any 12 month period.

When will the referral be triggered?

A referral will be possible once the employee has been absent for four weeks. If clear at the outset that the employee will be off work for more than four weeks, then an early referral can be made.

An employer can only refer after four weeks. The employee’s explicit and informed consent to not only the referral, but also to their personal information being shared, will need to be obtained.

When making referrals, employers do not need to contact the employee’s GP before doing so.

Any decision to refer will be dependent on the employee’s consent and that there is a reasonable likelihood that the employee is going to be able to return, at least on a phased basis.

Where there are duplicate referrals (GP and employer) they will be combined.

What will the FFW Service provide?

Once the referral has been made, the following will occur:

  • An occupational health assessment will be arranged, which will focus on any health, work and social factors which may be preventing the employee from returning to work. The first health assessment will take place within two working days of receipt of the referral.
  • A return to work plan will be prepared. The plan will address any factors which have been identified, as well as providing recommendations to support the employee in their recovery. The employee can choose to share the plan with their employer and GP. The employer can decide whether to implement the changes.
  • The employee will also be allocated a case manager to support them in their return to work.
  • The case manager may contact the employer during the preparation of the return to work plan, particularly if they need to understand the workplace context or where the employee’s relationship with the employer has been identified as an obstacle to the employee’s return. There may be further contact with the employer about the implementation of the return to work plan.

GPs, employees and employers will also have access to more general advice via the telephone and a website.

Are there any other benefits for the employer?

A tax exemption of up to £500 (per annum for each employee) on payments for medical treatment recommended by the FFW Service, or an employer arranged occupational health service will also be available to employers.

Does this mean that as an employer we do not have to follow any absence management procedures?

The FFW Service is intended to complement rather than replace existing occupational health provisions.

If you are considering dismissing an employee who has been off sick long term, it is important that a proper process is still followed, including obtaining appropriate medical advice, discussing this advice with the employee and considering alternative employment. Care also needs to be taken to ensure that if the employee has a disability, the obligations under the Equality Act 2010 are satisfied, which may include the need to make reasonable adjustments to the individual’s work environment or duties to support a return to work.

Whilst employers will still need to follow fair procedures and act reasonably and in a non-discriminatory way, it is hoped that early independent intervention under the FFW Service will lead to more employees returning to work sooner. The FFW Service will be particularly useful for those employers who do not have ready access to occupational health advice.

Contact Details

For solutions to managing your workplace sickness absence problems, please contact us:

fgmedia@fgsolicitors.co.uk

+44(0) 808 172 93 22

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.