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LEGAL UPDATE: Fit for Work Assessments to End

The Government announced in Improving lives: the future of work, health and disability that the Fit for Work assessment scheme is to end on 31 March 2018 following low referral rates.

The Fit for Work referral service introduced in 2014 was set up to help employers manage sickness in the workplace and provided free access to occupational health professionals for people who are off work for four weeks or more. Once an employee reached, or was expected to reach, four weeks of sickness absence they could be referred to Fit for Work by their GP or their employer. However, the scheme has had poor take-up and after months of uncertainty over its future, the Government is set to pull the plug on the scheme at the end of the month.

The abolishment of the Fit for Work scheme came after the Government released its ambitious proposals to get one million more disabled people into work over the next 10 years.

Proposals

A report, Improving Lives: the future of work, health and disability, sets out how the Government will work with employers, charities, healthcare providers and local authorities to break down employment barriers for disabled people and people with health conditions. The Government has also said that all 40 recommendations of the recent Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers will be progressed, including reform of statutory sick pay and the introduction of a framework for large employers to voluntarily report on mental health and disability within their organisations.

Given the low take-up, the scrapping of the scheme will have little impact on many businesses. However, employers should be aware that the same report notes that there will be a reform of the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme (SSP) and the Statement of Fitness for Work (Fit Note) which could have a direct impact on how employers deal with sickness in the workplace.

If you need help and advice in relation to sickness in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Richard Newstead

Richard qualified as a Legal Executive over 20 years ago and has significant experience in Employment law and Litigation.

Richard acts for both employers and employees drafting and advising on settlement agreements, contracts of employment, consultancy agreements, directors service agreements and general workplace policies. He acts for commercial clients in the employment tribunal dealing with unfair dismissals, constructive dismissals and claims for discrimination.
Richard Newstead

Latest posts by Richard Newstead (see all)

Richard Newstead

Richard qualified as a Legal Executive over 20 years ago and has significant experience in Employment law and Litigation. Richard acts for both employers and employees drafting and advising on settlement agreements, contracts of employment, consultancy agreements, directors service agreements and general workplace policies. He acts for commercial clients in the employment tribunal dealing with unfair dismissals, constructive dismissals and claims for discrimination.

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