The ‘fit note’ (‘Statement of Fitness for Work’) was introduced in April 2010 to replace the ‘sick note’. One major change brought about by the new fit note was the incorporation of the ‘may be fit for work’ category with the aim of advising employees on how they may be able to return to work even if they are not fully fit.
Original guidance was published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) at the time of the launch of the fit note, which made interested parties (e.g. employers, individuals, GPs, etc.) aware of the changes introduced by the switch to the new system.
Now, revised fit note guidance has been published by the DWP on the basis of the results of an ongoing programme of research aimed at understanding how the fit note has been used since its launch in 2010. The new guidance is focused on ensuring there is understanding of the importance of using the fit note to its maximum potential.
The new guidance:
- reflects changes that have taken place over the past two years (e.g. the roll-out of the electronic fit note);
- incorporates feedback from ongoing research with employers, individuals and GPs;
- contains more case studies to illustrate how the fit note can be used most effectively.
The revised guidance for employers/line managers, individuals, GPs, hospital doctors and occupational health practitioners is available on the DWP website. And, of course, the Health for Work Adviceline’s advisers are available to offer advice to employers/line managers who are unsure about how to support an employee (e.g. through workplace adjustments) who wants to come back to work despite not being fully fit (0800 0 77 88 44).