HelloWe have an employee who was signed off work for 6 months but now his Dr has deemed him fit for work (by not signing another fit note). This coincides with his entitlement to sick pay expiring.
We have an independent Occ Health report that says he can return if we may significant adjustments to his role for 10+ weeks. We don't think we will be able to do this and so it looks like we will need to suspend on full pay. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we can avoid / manage this? The report says there are no Equality Act implications.
If we can make the adjustments but this only equals a part-time role, can we pay him part time?
I'm most unhappy that his GP has not signed him off, I think the GP should complete a fit to work or fit to work with limitations note. Your OH report does not take the place of the GP's certificate, their role being only to advise you and you say you do not have the ability to provide work within his current limitations. You have the right to refuse to accept him back to work and have no responsibility to pay him occupational sick pay if that has exhausted, but must continue to pay SSP until this exhausts. This assumes that you have not exercised discretion with any other employee to extend occupational sick pay as this would be unfair to him.
The advice above assumes that your employee and his GP do not dispute your assertion that it is not reasonable or possible to provide suitable work. If this is disputed then this should be treated as a formal grievance and your procedures followed to the letter. He may cite disability legislation and allege discrimination - you need to tell us a lot more about the situation before we can take a view on the validity of this.
Regarding your part time question, this rather defeats your argument so I would not go there, alternatively if he is willing to work to the best of his ability and the limitation is really only one of his stamina and need for a phased recovery, a compassionate company would recognise that part time employment makes him ineligible for benefits and credits, and therefore pay full wages nevertheless.
I'm sorry to say that many organisations would just cave in and suspend on full pay, preferring expediency against principle. Personally I never accept that managers have not the time to accommodate their employees, sends all the wrong messages.
Hope this helps
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