The Employee Assistance Professionals Association broadly welcomes the introduction of the fit note scheme on 6 April 2010 (Bill of Health, Personnel Today, 30 March).
Being at work can be good for people – even those with psychological issues – so a scheme that enables individuals to return to work and positively considers what they can do, rather than encouraging them to continue taking time off, is a useful and positive approach to managing absence and promoting employee wellbeing.
Employers now need to consider how they can accommodate any workplace adjustments or phase employees’ return to work, as recommended by fit notes.
Many have already invested in appropriate advice and support through existing occupational health services and employee assistance programmes (EAPs) to achieve this and the fit note will, we believe, be a valuable element of an overall strategy to support this.
So it’s over to employers. The challenge is now on for them to make sure they’re ready for the anticipated change that fit notes will bring to ensure they work with and alongside existing strategies and programmes to support employee health and wellbeing.
Eugene Farrell, chairman, Employee Assistance Professionals Association