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What’s the prognosis on sickness absence?
In November Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE presented their report ‘Health at Work – an independent review of sickness absence’. The report makes a number of recommendations aimed at reducing the cost of absence and they propose making better use of occupational health specialists. They propose:

* Establishing a new state-funded ‘Independent Assessment Service’ which will provide advice on whether and how an employee who has been absent from work for 4 weeks or more can be supported to return to work. The service will take this responsibility away from GPs;

* Revising the guidance on ‘Fit notes’ to include a general assessment of the employee’s ability to work, not simply an assessment of their ability to undertake their current job;

* Improving the knowledge and awareness of healthcare professionals, and;

* Reconsidering the current ban on pre-employment health questionnaires.

The report also suggests that it should be easier to end the employment relationship in situations where no reasonable adjustments can be made or when the employee does not want to return to work.

We are still waiting for the Government to respond to the report, but if accepted it may take a while to implement the recommendations. In the meantime if you need support or advice regarding an employee with a sickness absence problem or need an occupational health assessment, please contact Cherington HR.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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