From sick note to fit note _2_

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					                 From ‘sick note’ to ‘fit note’

           The New Statement of Fitness for Work

We’ve come to talk to you about the changes to the medical certificate that
came into effect on 6 April this year and what ‘may be fit for work means for

What is the new ‘fit note’?

 The current sick note or medical certificate only advises whether a person
  is or is not fit to return to work.
 In recognition that there may be circumstances where, with support or
  adjustments, a person to return to work sooner and the fact that it may be
  better for the person and the employer, to be back at work the new
  Statement of Fitness for Work will give
          o information on how person’s condition affects what they do; and
          o clear and practical advice on whether with appropriate support
            the employee could return to work
 The emphasis is about removing the barriers to people returning to work
  not about getting them back to work before they are ready to
 This will be similar, although likely to be less detailed, than the advice
  currently provided by the School’s occupational health advisers

What stays the same?

 Most of the School’s current procedures and practices
          o Sickness absence reporting
          o Required from the 8th day of absence (incl. weekends) for sick
            pay purposes
          o Support for employees returning from sickness absence e.g. OH
          o Capability – health Procedure for Academic Support Staff

 Our obligations to make reasonable adjustments under disability
  discrimination legislation
 Managers’ responsibilities

          o Recording monitoring attendance levels and ensuring that staff
            are following the sickness absence procedures, promptly
            informing HR by completing the pink form,
          o Keep in contact with members of staff on sick leave (includes
            long-term sickness) and having return-to-work discussions after
            periods of sickness absence both short and long term absence
          o raising concerns where necessary and trying to resolve
            underlying issues as promptly as possible for example by
            requesting an occupational health assessment and/or a meeting
            under the capability health procedure
 Advice from HR

Employees’ responsibilities

      ensure that they follow the appropriate sickness absence procedures
       should they fall ill
      complete sickness absence forms and/or provide a statement of
       fitness in accordance with the Schools sickness absence procedures,
       in a timely manner
      attend either an Occupational Health referral or capability - health
       hearing arranged under this procedure

What’s new?

 There will no longer be a ‘fit for work’ option
 The choices will be Not fit for work – just like old ‘med cert’ or if the GP
  feels that with certain changes the person could return they ‘may be fit for
 This is advice to the employee and is not binding on employers so if it is not
  possible to provide the support for your employee to return to work, you
  and your employee should proceed as if the doctor had advised ‘not fit for
  work’ – they will not need to get a new form to confirm this

The new ‘May be fit for work’ option

The GP may tick one of more of the four tick boxes; it is not exhaustive so
they may make recommendations for example if they feel that an assessment
by an occupational health profession is required

The tick box options are:

 A phased return to work – e.g. starting with very short days and/or partial
  duties, increasing over c2-4 weeks to normal hours
 Amended duties e.g. avoiding specific duties such as heavy lifting (back
  injury) or pressure parts of job (stress)
 Altered hours e.g. avoiding rush hour, or flexible hours to fit in with on going
 Workplace adaptations – e.g. ground floor workstation

There may also be further information about the medical condition and how it
affects the individual.
It may be necessary to consider whether a workplace risk assessment is
required and to keep it under review – contact Ann O’Brien or Lisa von

If the advice is that the adjustments are required for longer than a couple of
weeks it may be advisable to get further clarification from an Occupational
health assessment so do contact HR.
If you get a ‘May be fit for work’

   1. Consider the advice given and how it affects the job, the workplace and
      whether the advice can be accommodated
    if you need to take advice from HR – ER can advise in relation to the
     advice given and HR Pay in relation to how to record the absence and
     whether there will be an impact on sick pay
    consider having a workplace risk assessment - speak to H&S for further

   2. discuss the advice on the Statement with the employee
          a. consider the practicalities e.g. how will duties be covered, any
             backlog be handled, will partial cover need to continue, do
             passwords and IT access need to be changed
          b. can any alternatives be considered
          c. when and how to monitor the individual’s return
   3. seek further advice from HR if necessary
   4. confirm with the employee
          a. if the advice can be accommodated
                  i. agree return to work date

                  ii. any work place amendments or variations to hours or
                  iii. agree date to review
                  iv. notify HR Pay
                  v. put appropriate mechanisms in place
                  vi. monitor and review as agreed, taking advice from HR if
           b. if the advice can’t be accommodated or you need further
                   i. consider OH referral
                  ii. agree date of next review or return to work
                  iii. agree when and how you will next contact individual
                  iv. notify HR pay that advice has not been followed
                  v. keep in touch with person

Story so far?
It’s early days and we haven’t seen many of the new statements but so far
they have tended to be giving similar advice to the old medical certificate.

I have a positive example to relate, an individual left physically weak from an
illness was given a fit note advising a 2 week phased return. On the first day
the manager confirmed that the individual was well enough to return and that
she should work the hours she felt able too and to watch for any repetition of
her symptoms. They agreed that she should keep her manager and her
assistant informed if she was not able to come in or had to leave early. She
has now returned to full hours and duties. In talking to the person she
confirmed that the managers’ attitude and the flexibility of hours meant that
she was back at work sooner than if she had had to wait for her strength to be
fully restored.

Advice available
It would not be appropriate to discuss specific cases now if you have any
queries about specific cases but I’m happy to answer any generic questions
now, alternatively if you want further advice do contact the ER team or
arrange to attend one of our fortnightly clinics for managers by contacting
Natalie Pancheri on ext 6568

Any Questions

Sickness absence – colleagues are reviewing the sickness absence reporting
procedures and the pink sickness form if you have any suggestions please do
contact Laura Brown or Raj Lakhani


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