Businesses should embrace government’s Fit for Work scheme, says law firm

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Fit for Work, the government-backed scheme to help people on long term sick leave back into work, will only be effective if businesses fully embrace it, says employment law firm Law at Work.

The scheme, already implemented in some areas of the country, will make occupational health advice more accessible to both employers and employees, with the aim that sickness absence can be better managed.

Donald MacKinnon, director of legal service at Law at Work, said:

“Anything that gets people off long term sickness is a good thing – not just for the individual, but for the business and the State.

“Employees on mid to long-term sickness absence can be referred by their GP for a free telephone health assessment and return to work advice. It is hoped that these steps could help ease employees back to work quicker and in a healthier position.

“The longer an employee is absent from work, the less likely they are to return. Therefore any assistance employees can receive to improve that situation will benefit everyone. Individual employees will have the chance to receive self-help advice and details of organisations which may be able to help them improve their health.”

A government review of the UK’s sickness absence system revealed that over 130 million days are lost to sickness absence each year, costing in excess of £15 billion to the UK economy.

The main aims of the new scheme are to:

  • support people to reduce the length of sickness absence
  • reduce the chances of people falling out of work and on to benefits
  • increase awareness of the benefits of working to persons health
  • increase the positive actions taken by employers, employees and GPs in contributing to a change in attitudes towards health and work

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  1. Mmmm, the primary problem is simply that it is perceived as a “dot gov driven benefits avoidance scheme” rather than the natural generic patient follow-up to the immediate treatment of any work/life disease, harm or injury one should receive after, increasingly early start on the road to recovery / rehabilitation, after a quick discharge from hostipal freeing a bed for someone else.

    Over recent years the NHS, with stretched funds, seams to have joined the Emergency Services in terms of immediately addressing anything potentially life threatening and then sending you home to re-cooperate on your own, other than a referral back to your GP for any after care but, unless you are prepared to be a GP bother-er or have a partner as an active advocate it’s a FOFO & YOYO scenario if you can get to the 10 min quickie appointment in the first place.

    And then don’t get me started on Mental Health with NHS projecting the need for a five fold increase in funding by 2016 whilst dot gov promotes the WHO Healthy Workplace Nudge Campaign and continues to expediently cut funding for mental health and everything else using austerity as an excuse as it’s Human Resources quietly depreciate in front of their very eyes.

    Perhaps that is the plan as human resources performance and productivity declines employers will have to recruit another one for every four employees make up for the 20 < 25% lost productivity !!!!

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