The free, voluntary and confidential service, known as Fit for Work, will provide the services of health professionals to employed people if they have been, or are likely to be, off work for four weeks or more due to illness or related issues.
Fit for Work particularly benefits SMEs with limited access to occupational health advice and services, by taking out the complexity and difficulties in rehabilitating employees with long-term illnesses back into work. Once an employee has given informed consent to their GP, they will be contacted within two working days for a phone assessment.
A health professional will look at issues preventing the employee from returning to work including health, work and personal factors. The agreed Return to Work Plan will contain advice and recommendations for interventions to help the employee return to work more quickly.
The decision to implement any of these suggestions, remains for the employer and employee. GP practices across Cumbria are now making referrals, so employers can expect to start receiving Return to Work Plans soon.
Employers will be able to directly refer their employees in the autumn. In the meantime you can signpost eligible employees for referrals through their GP. Additionally, employers can get a tax exemption of up to £500 per year, per employee, on the medical treatments recommended.
Visit http://fitforwork.org/employer for more information on what to do if you receive a Return to Work Plan.