‘Fit note’ to save businesses £240 million

The introduction of a new fit note is set to cut the cost of employee absence by £240 million over the next ten years, the government claims.


The introduction of a new fit note is set to cut the cost of employee absence by £240 million over the next ten years, the government claims.

The introduction of a new fit note is set to cut the cost of employee absence by £240 million over the next ten years, the government claims.

Instead of giving patients a sick note, which says employees are too ill to work, after April 6 GPs will have to decide which jobs a person can perform and what employers can do to help them return to work.

Mary Boughton, health and safety chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, says: ‘Encouraging employees to do what they can within their jobs while they are not 100 per cent fit is good for business and the wider community. The FSB has been calling for its introduction for years.’

However, there is concern that that new system could cause more red tape for small businesses. Laura Livingstone, employment law partner at Davenport Lyons, says: ‘Because there is an option for GPs to say the patient “may be fit for work” the onus will be on the business to carry out a risk assessment. For SMEs this will be mean an increased administrative burden, and could lead to legal problems if procedures are not seen to be dealt with properly.’

For more information about the sick note visit the Department for Work and Pensions website.

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