Mixed diagnosis on success of fit notes
THE introduction of “fit notes” which were designed to get those on long-term sickness absence back to work sooner are having only a modest impact.
That’s the view of Roythornes’ Phil Cookson, who heads up the Peterborough employment team.
He was commenting on research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development which showed that only 11 per cent of employers considered they had helped to reduce absence rates.
The one “benefit” of the notes, though, according to the research, was that just over half of the employers thought they had helped to start conversations with sick employees.
Fit notes were introduced in April 2010. Rather than signing employees off work, GPS now have to advise on what work the employee could undertake, suggesting adaptations to the workplace or working hours if necessary.
The problem, in practice, seems to be GPS continuing in their role as “patient advocate” and suggested adaptations from GPS often being seen by employers as either unworkable in practice or too vague to be of real assistance.