Fit for Work?

Lord Freud said recently “Providing support where it’s needed most will help to reduce the length of time employees take off sick which in turn will cut sick pay costs, improve economic output and reduce the chance of people falling out of work and having to claim benefits”. It is for this reason that the government have decided to implement new guidelines that mean people face a ‘fit for work’ test after a 4 week absence period due to illness.

Lord Freud has a point! After just 4 weeks 1 in 5 people will not return to work, after 6 months only 1 in 5 people will return to work and after 2 years you are, statistically speaking, more likely to die than return to work. Whilst these are staggering statistics I personally think the government are going about this the wrong way and it would appear the British Medical association might agree with me. Evidence shows one of the main reasons people do not return to work after an extended absence is fear, this is something that to a large extent can be countered by a regular phone call/meeting with the company for updates and make sure they still have an engaged employee, whereas government controlled medical tests can have the opposite effect and instil fear as well as forcing people back into work before they are fully recovered (if implemented wrongly).

If you are in a management position, before sheepishly agreeing with the government, try calling your staff to see how they are doing, you might just save yourself a lot of time and money. See how much staff absence costs your business by using the absence cost calculator.

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