With thoughts of January detoxes and healthy new year’s resolutions, it seems timely that the Government has now published guidance documents for both employers and employees on the Fit for Work scheme [Employers click here and Employees click here] The Fit for Work advice service went live at the end of last year [http://fitforwork.org/] and the referral service will gradually be rolled out over the coming months (more details on which are expected in early 2015). The aim of the service is to help employees stay in or return to work. There are 2 elements to the service and consenting employees can be referred by either their employer or GP:
- an advice service providing free health and work advice through a website and a telephone line
- a referral service providing a free occupational health assessment and a return to work plan for employees who have been off sick from work, or are likely to be off sick from work, for 4 weeks or more.
The Government intend that the new Scheme will benefit small to medium sized businesses who may have limited access to occupational health advice and services. Whilst the Service is not mandatory, the guidance recommends that sickness absence policies are updated to reflect the availability of Fit for Work.