The ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’, or the ‘fit note’ as it is affectionately known, came into effect on 6 April, as introduced in my previous blog dated 18 February.  One month on, what impact has it had so far?

Few people would argue that sickness absence costs employers financially.  It also costs other employees, who may face an increased workload as they cover for absent colleagues.  When the same person is off work for several weeks or months, then the costs to employers and employees are exacerbated.  In addition to the primary illness, there can be other secondary effects for the individual concerned. For example, not working may lead to lower self esteem – which will have a negative impact on overall psychological wellbeing.   

To help address longer-term sickness absence, the ‘fit note’ was introduced to support people to return to work as quickly as possible.  Have you encountered any situations where the ‘fit note’ has helped or hindered employers or employees?  For example, has the ‘fit note’ helped someone you know with a fractured wrist return to work whilst in plaster, to perform amended duties, when they might otherwise have been signed off from work if the old ‘sick note’ system was still in place?  Similarly, has anyone you know been offered more flexible working hours or phased their return to work following illness – and benefitted from doing so?  Or, do you think that someone you know has already misused the system and been able to ‘cherry pick’ the duties and responsibilities that suit them, leaving other colleagues to cover the more arduous tasks? Finally, are you a GP who has had to write these notes and, if so, how is the new system affecting you? 

Real-case examples will be vital to evaluating the success of the system for everyone involved, and I look forward to hearing your experiences.

For more information about the ‘fit note’ you can read the following:

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Professor Sir Cary Cooper

Co-founder of Robertson Cooper, Cary set up the business with Ivan Robertson in 1999. A Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School, he is recognised as a world leading expert on wellbeing. Cary is also the media’s first choice for comment on workplace issues. He remains an active member of the Robertson Cooper team, focusing on strategy, external relations and PR activity.

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