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New guidance: New guidance for employers on Fit for Work scheme

Employers will welcome new guidance Fit for Work: Guidance for employers from the Department for Work and Pensions on the new Fit for Work service, and a website introducing the new service.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert - February 2015

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

The two elements of the new service are an occupational health assessment for employees, and an advice service. It will run alongside existing occupational health schemes, if employers have one.

Under the scheme an employee will usually be referred for an assessment by their GP after four weeks' sick leave (or if the GP anticipates the sick leave will last at least four weeks). If the GP has not referred an employee for an assessment after four weeks the employer can do so. The assessment can be made face-to-face or over the phone.

The outcome of an assessment is a 'return to work' plan recommending ways to get the employee working again more quickly – such as retraining, homeworking or medical care; and sources of help and advice.

Employees are entitled to a tax exemption of up to £500 if they are receiving medical treatment either recommended by the service or arranged by their employer, as the treatment would otherwise be treated as a benefit in kind (and therefore income tax and employer National Insurance contributions would be payable).

The advice service is available to employers, employees and their GPs over the phone. The Government has also launched a new Fit for Work website introducing the new service, with sections for employers, employees and GPs.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendations

  • Download the new guidance from the gov.uk website, visit the Fit for Work website and review your sickness absence policies to see if changes are needed.

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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