Who is eligible for a Fit for Work referral?

August 11, 2016   //   No Comments

A Fit for Work referral is for employees who have been off sick from work for four weeks or more. The assessment aims to identify the obstacles delaying an employee’s return to work and provide recommendations about how those can be managed in order to help the employee return to work quickly and safely. The assessment explores all health, non-health, work and non-work factors influencing a person’s ability to return to work – e.g. physical or mental issues, work-related factors, personal problems, etc.

In the majority of cases, the 45-minute in-depth assessments take place by phone between the employee and a Fit for Work case manager. Where a return to work is deemed appropriate, the employee is given a personalised Return to Work Plan. This plan provides a step-by-step approach to returning to work and can be helpful in discussions between the employer and employee. The Return to Work Plan can also be accepted by the employer as evidence for sick pay in a lieu of a Fit Note.

Eligibility for a Fit for Work assessment depends on:

1. Location: In England and Wales, use fitforwork.org; in Scotland use fitforworkscotland.scot.

2. Work status: those who are in paid employment are eligible, those who are self-employed or unemployed are not.

3. Length of sickness absence:  employers can refer employees who have reached four weeks of sickness absence and have not yet been referred by their GP.

4. Past referral: people who have been supported through a Fit for Work assessment in the last 12 months will not be eligible for a repeat referral.

5. Consent: employers must gain consent from patients/employees before they make a referral. Consent will also be sought from employees before their Return to Work Plan is shared with their GP and/or employer.

Employees: If you meet the eligibility criteria, ask your employer or GP to refer you to Fit for Work. To find out more about Fit for Work referrals, see this post.

Employers: Refer eligible employees by visiting fitforwork.org/employer and clicking on ‘refer an employee’.