Responsible for the problematic cases of sickness absence & fitness for work?

Your responsibility for fitness for work and sickness absence

The two main health problems at the root of sickness absence which prevent employees attending work or functioning to their full capacity at work are:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions (back, knees, shoulders, hands and wrists)
  • Mental health conditions (stress, depression and anxiety)

There are personal, social, and potentially financial implications for the employee with the health condition, but this is only part of the problem.

From your perspective the impact on the organisation can be significant:

  • Increased costs as the workload has to be covered by others.
  • Adverse affects on the team, as colleagues may need to pick up part or all of their workload or shift
  • Team members feeling overworked.
  • Low morale in the workplace.
  • Increased managerial workload.

How we help you with fitness for work and sickness absence

Individual Case Management

Health in Action’s excellent individual case management helps to focus affected individuals on their recovery, aiding their return to health and to work much more quickly.

  • It supports management and HR in your efforts to support the individual back into the workplace by advising on phased return to work plans.
  • Provides independent medical advice as to when a person may not be suitable to return to either their job role or into work in general.
  • Provides expert advice regarding the Disability Discrimination Act and reasonable adjustment.
  • Helps you to know how to deal with those who are struggling with their workload because of ill health or disability.
  • This of course helps you in your desire to improve overall performance through the company or organisation.

The main purpose of a Fitness for Work assessment is to ensure the employee is fit to undertake the tasks of their job role effectively and without risk.

The intention is not prevent an employee from performing or returning to their job but to make any necessary reasonable adjustments to their role or workplace to allow the person perform their job effectively and without risk.

Fitness for Work Assessment are often needed when;

  • an employee is returning to work after a period of extended sickness absence
  • you are recruiting an employee for the first time and their role or condition may expose them to risks or hazards
  • you are transferring an employee to a new job role which may expose them or their condition to risks or hazards
  • specific requirements have been identified such as those resulting from health surveillance
  • you are considering an employee’s retirement on grounds of ill-health

An assessment may be needed to help both the employer and the employee but should be directed at the job role in question.

In all situations there is a legal requirement to consider ‘reasonable adjustment’ if the individual has a disability within the definition of the Equality Act 2010 and it is good practice to do so in any case.

In our experience the vast majority of employees who are seen by Occupational Health appreciate the support offered in their 1:1 health assessment and most receive advice to help them to manage their condition, recover and perform their role effectively.

That’s why we offer our Health in Action expert Sickness Absence, Case Management and Fitness for Work service for busy HR professionals, H&S specialists or line managers like you, handling the time-consuming challenges of complex absence management and health in the workplace.

Contact us to find out how we can help you deliver effective sickness absence and case management for your workforce to improve morale, productivity and performance.