The new fit note is designed for one purpose – to align the thinking of GPs and employers so that both parties can encourage an absent employees’ early return to work even when the employee is not ‘fully fit’. The note encourages doctors to offer simple, practical advice to employers about basic workplace adjustments that could help patients make an earlier return to work.
This could mean employers would be able to get employers returning to work early with adjustments to the employees working conditions.
While doctors can continue to certify patients as unfit, there is also a second category “you may be fit for some work”. This gives the option for doctors to advise employers on the level of work an employee can undertake, whether this is altered working hours, amended duties or adoptions to the workplace to accommodate the employee.
Employers should have already put new practices in place to deal with the changes, which may result in a high number of calls from line managers to their HR departments until the fit note is fully understood.