Ealing Schools HR
Changes to medical certificates from 6th April 2010
From 6th April 2010 the current ‘sick note’ (medical certificate issued by a doctor) will be
replaced by the Statement of Fitness to Work or 'fit note'.
GPs will be able to offer advice on what work an employee may be able to perform and will be
able to suggest adjustments to working arrangements which could be made in order to facilitate
an earlier return to work.
On the new form doctors will be able to advise one of two options:
· Not fit for work for a stated period of time or
· May be fit for some work, with advice on what support and/or arrangements may help the
employee to return to work and the functional effects of the employee’s medical condition
Why the change?
Getting employees back to work earlier can reduce isolation brought on by absence from work
and help promote physical and mental wellbeing, as well as improve organisational
effectiveness and reduce costs.
The new ‘fit note’ is designed to give employees and employers more flexibility in how they
manage sickness absence. The change is intended to switch the focus from what people
recovering from an illness cannot do at work, to what they can do facilitating a possible earlier
return to work. This might mean discussing altered hours or a modified work routine. The key
is to establish a dialogue between the employer, employee and their GP or occupational health
In practice, if a head teacher/manager receives a ‘fit note’ that states an employee ‘may be fit
for work’, they are expected to discuss with the employee and consider the advice that may
help an employee get back to work in the same way they currently do, where the Council’s
Occupational Health Unit makes recommendations about whether they can help an employee
get back to work.
This might mean discussing with an employee:
· a phased return to work,
· altered hours,
· amended duties and/or
· workplace adaptations.
If it is possible to accommodate the recommended support/arrangements, head
teachers/managers should do so in accordance with the guidance on the management of
absence, available on top right hand side on the EGfL absence page:
If it is not possible to provide the support, head teachers/managers should explain the reasons
for this to the employee and use the statement as if the doctor has advised ‘not fit for work’.