Employers are being urged to share their views on new ‘fit note’ proposals announced by the government today.
The new system is designed to replace the ‘sick note culture’ and help more people stay in work rather than drift into long-term sickness – about 172m working days were lost in 2007 due to sickness absence.
Under the scheme, expected to roll-out across the UK next spring, GPs will replace the hand-written sick note with a computer-generated medical fit note explaining what work a patient is able to do.
Lord Bill McKenzie, work and pensions minister said: “Employers tell us that managing sickness absence can be a challenge. This is compounded by a ‘sick note’ system that makes sickness absence a black-and-white issue – either you are fit for work or you are not.
“We recognise how important it is to help people who are sick to stay in work or get back to work quickly – the new fit note will help do just that.”
The proposal forms part of the government’s response to Dame Carol Black’s report into the health of Britain’s working age population, which was published in March 2008.
The DWP is expected to publish more detail on the consultation shortly.