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Fit for Work Guidance
The Government has published guidance for employers on its new Fit for Work service aimed at cutting long-term sickness absence, which is set to be launched early this year.

The free service is intended to help employees return to work after they have been on sickness absence for four weeks or more. It will be rolled out in phases over a period of months, with further details expected to be published soon. However, the advice websites are already available on or

The guidance advises employers on how the new service will work, the role of the employer, the benefits for employees and employers and data protection issues. It stresses that the service will mainly target small and medium enterprises. Separate guidance has been developed for employees and GPs.

Employees will be referred (normally by their GP) with their consent for an occupational health (OH) assessment, usually by telephone. This will result in a return-to-work plan, which will be sent by email or post. The plan will include recommendations for employers on how to help the employee back to work.

The guidance by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) advises employers to update their sickness absence policies to tell staff that the service is becoming available and explain how it will work. However, you may wish to wait until it is available in your area of the country.
If you want to help resolving sickness absence issues in your business, contact Cherington HR for further advice.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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