Employment

Fit for Work Scotland has announced that, from today (Wednesday 29 July 2015), it is accepting phone referrals from employers. The online referral form will launch later this year.

What is Fit for Work?

The government launched the Fit for Work service with a view to reducing long-term sickness absence. The service has two elements: an advice line and assessment service. The advice line launched in December 2014 and allows employers, employees and GPs to access free advice about workplace health issues via a telephone line (0800 019 2211) and website. The assessment service operates as follows:

  • Employers and GPs can refer employees for an occupational health assessment if they have been, or are likely to be, absent for four weeks or more, and the employee agrees to being referred. In most cases, it is expected that GPs will make a referral, but employers can do so if a GP does not.
  • The service is free and employers can claim a tax exemption of up to £500 per employee to pay for interventions recommended by Fit for Work Scotland.
  • A telephone assessment will be conducted within 2 working days (or, if an employee requests a face-to-face assessment, this will be conducted within 5 working days).
  • A case manager will identify obstacles preventing the employee from returning to work and agree a return to work plan to address these. If the employee consents, the plan will be sent to their employer and GP.
  • Employers don’t have to implement the recommendations in a return to work plan but it will usually be good practice to consider them alongside all other relevant factors and medical advice.
  • An employee can only be referred once in 12 months.

How do we make a phone referral?

If your employee is eligible, you can refer them by calling 08082 819 288 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). Before you make the call, ensure your employee is eligible for a referral and you have their consent.

Where can we get more information?

More detail on which employees are eligible for assessments, together with general information and guidance, is available from the Fit for Work Scotland website. Employers in England and Wales can obtain more information from the Fit for Work (England and Wales) website.

Kathleen Morrison

Kathleen Morrison

Practice Development Lawyer at Brodies LLP
As a Practice Development Lawyer, Kathleen is responsible for developing and maintaining Brodies Workbox, our award-winning online HR and employment law site.
Kathleen Morrison