Tuesday, 23 March 2010

From Sick Note to Fit Note: A New Workplace Regime

Colleagues,

In a posting last year I highlighted the impending introduction of changes to the long-established method of certification for sickness absence.

6 April 2010 will herald a new regime in managing employee sickness absence with the introduction of the "Statement of Fitness for Work" or "Fit Note" as it is more commonly called. Fit notes will replace the current incapacity certificates which have been around in their present format since the 1920s in an attempt to reduce the incidence and costs of workplace absence. As the name suggests, the new regime focuses on encouraging employers and employees to work towards an early return to work in appropriate circumstances.

Thompsons Solicitors contributed to the consultation phase around the development of this new concept. Naturally the firm were seeking reassurances in the methods used to introduce the new system. See full details here:

http://www.thompsons.law.co.uk/ltext/department-work-pensions.htm

In introducing the fit note the government's mantra is that it creates a new method by which employee's full capability of undertaking some form of work is better scrutinised and made more likely.

Have a look at what the DWP has to say in rolling-out the new system:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2009/may-2009/emp170-280509.shtml

The TUC has produced a very useful guide to the new proposals and aims to help reps prepare for its workplace implications. A pdf version of the TUC can be seen here:

http://www.tuc.org.uk/extras/fitnote.pdf

Please take the time to look in detail at the information provided in the links and let me know what you see as the potential issues in your workplace.

Cheers!

Ian

5 comments:

Peter Chigana said...

These regime changes sound difficult in the UK, but of course Ian compared to where I am I think you are indeed lucky anyway. I have not heard from you in sometime - please e-mail. Thanks - Peter

Ian Manborde said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the comment although you'll appreciate that workers, regadless of their relative, comparative advantage to others, should always defend those measures and systems that protect their health, safety and wellbeing.

The new proposals whilst proposing some potentially minor improvements in the current system will essentially consign workers who are ill or in other ways not capable of work, back into the workplace.

Sorry about the lack of contact, I thought you were on my MA student distribution list. Will check and if not add you as I have sent out some useful info recently. One of potential interest is the new intenrnational labour studies journal from the ILO.

Cheers

Ian

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Ian Manborde said...

Thanks for the posting,

In reply:

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Jenni said...

Thanks for the info Ian, hadn't heard about this from within the union.

Jen