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The Government's Fit For Work Scheme now available across the UK

The Government's Fit For Work Scheme now available across the UK 

The aim of the Fit For Work Scheme is to encourage employees to get back to work as soon as possible following sickness or injury. The scheme is free, funded by the Government from the savings made when it stopped refunding SSP to employers, so for small to medium sized employers it may serve as an alternative to more costly occupational health services. 


Under the new scheme GPs and Employers are able to refer employees when they have been off work sick for 4 weeks. Employers will however need to seek the employee's written consent before any referral and Fit for Work needs consent from employees before they can share any information with employers.


Fit for Work will carry out an assessment of the employee and will seek to draw up a personalised return to work plan. This plan will be made available to the employer who will consider whether it is able to accommodate it's proposals. The plan may suggest a phased return, reduced or altered duties, a period of working from home, changes to the workplace or work station for the employee, extra support or supervision, etc. The employer is not obliged to follow the return to work plan, and in some cases the plan may not be feasible, for example, due to a lack of resources, excessive cost or difficulty with restructuring work.


It can frequently be unclear if an employee is heading for a prolonged period of absence or is likely to recover and return to work in the near future. Until now, employers may have been reluctant to seek medical information in the early stages of such an absence because of the cost of a medical report or of a referral to an occupational health specialist. This new, free scheme offers intervention at a relatively early stage - after just 4 weeks' absence, so it is hoped that the Fit For Work Scheme may help to speed things up a little.

For further information about this or any other aspect of employment law please contact Chris Wiper on 01325 466461 or email chris.wiper@close-thornton.co.uk

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