Govt moves to end sick note culture

A new 'fit note' which is designed to keep people in work rather than go on long-term sick leave has been unveiled by the government.


A new ‘fit note’ which is designed to keep people in work rather than go on long-term sick leave has been unveiled by the government.

A new ‘fit note’ which is designed to keep people in work rather than go on long-term sick leave has been unveiled by the government.

The new system will see doctors provide patients with advice on how they can stay in work longer, suggest roles which allow them to do their job despite their condition and guide bosses on how to support those returning to employment.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, fit notes will have a 12-week consultation on their design, with the goal being to introduce them as a computer-generated replacement to the current handwritten version.

Lord Bill McKenzie, work and pensions minister, comments: ‘We recognise how important it is to help people who are sick to stay in work or get back to work quickly.’

However, Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber warns that encouraging people to return to work too soon can impede their full recovery or lead to a relapse.

Broadly welcoming the initiative, he adds: ‘Most employers won’t have the expertise to give workers the support they need for an early return.’

Barber also claims that the best way to help sick workers is by increasing their access to occupational health support.

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