17 Sep National rollout of Fit for Work scheme now complete
National rollout of the Fit for Work scheme is now complete in England and Wales. This means that employers (as well as GPs) are now able to refer their employees who have been off work sick for four weeks or more for a free Fit for Work referral. The referral can be made by phone or online. At the moment, employers in Scotland can only make a phone referral, but the online referral facility should be available shortly.
Fit for Work is funded by the Government and it provides a free work-focused health assessment, and a return to work plan, for employees who have been off sick from work, or who are likely to be off sick from work, for four weeks or more.
Whilst it is normally GPs that will make Fit for Work referrals, employers can now do it too. For an employer to make a Fit for Work referral, the employee needs to have been off sick from work for four weeks or more, have a reasonable likelihood of making at least a phased return to work, have not previously been referred for a Fit for Work assessment within the last 12 months, and have provided their prior consent to being referred. However, if the employee’s GP has already made a referral, the employer cannot make one. If there are duplicate referrals, Fit for Work will simply combine them.