As an employer or an employee, it’s essential to know the ins and outs of sick days. Annually sick days amount to around 130 lost days within the year and costs the economy of the country an estimated £15 million. The employers bear the brunt of around £9 billion when loss of productivity from staff absence is taken into account.
In 2011/12, 64,000 people suffered from work-related illness in Scotland, contributing to 1.7 million working days lost due to workplace injury and ill health. By supporting staff attendance, preventing sickness absence and helping absent employees return to work quicker, you can reduce business costs and increase productivity.
What is the fit for work service?
The Fit For Work Service Scotland is designed to reduce the costs and further impact that this has on every part of the business world. It has been made to support the employer and employee during a period of absence and change the ripple effect that is created due to the loss of productivity.
Who is eligible for fit for work service?
The employee absence that can be assessed under this service is those that have been on sick leave for 4 weeks or more. The employee must consent to be assessed and live in Scotland. If they have previously been assessed under this service then they cannot undertake further assessment for at least another year.
How do employers refer employees to fit for work services?
To use this scheme the employer can complete a form online to get the ball rolling. They’ll be asked a number of things including the date that sick leave started, what work the employee does on a daily basis and working hours. This will then inform the plan of action to get the employee back to work within a reasonable time frame.
The Return to Work Plan
From there a GP will be in contact with the absent employee with this information to assess if they could complete their usual tasks. They will also be supported by advisors that will liaise with the employer and employee to discuss their return to work. They’ll use the health recommendations from the GP to decide upon a time frame in which it would be possible for them to return to the workplace. This can take up to 12 weeks to complete and the employee can withdraw their consent at any time.
This scheme allows employees to get back to work when they’re able with increased communication and support from both sides. This will reap the employer rewards like:
- Increased productivity
- Increased business performance
- Increased staff morale
- Reduced accidents and work-related ill-health
- Reduced sick pay costs
- Reduced pressure on employees covering for those who are absent