GPs do not fill out fit notes correctly, say employers

Employers support fit notes but do not believe doctors are completing them correctly, according to research carried out by XpertHR.

The XpertHR report on sick pay arrangements found that two-thirds of employers did not fully implement the recommendations made in every fit note they received.
Organisations said that the main problems they faced with fit notes were that doctors did not understand the nature of individual jobs, did not fill in the notes correctly and made suggestions that were impossible for the company to accommodate.

Under the fit note arrangements, which were introduced in April 2010, a GP can suggest changes that the employer can make to a job role or working environment to enable an employee to remain in or return to work.

Sheila Atwood, XpertHR pay and benefits editor, said: “While some employers welcomed the ability for employees to return to work gradually or in a slightly different capacity after a period of sickness absence, others question the ability of GPs to advise on jobs they know little about.”

The survey also found that 44.5% of organisations offer occupational sick pay to workers from the first day they are employed at the company. At the remaining 55.5%, employees were entitled to paid sick leave after a qualifying period, usually six months.

On average, employees who had completed one year’s service could receive fully-paid sick leave for up to nine weeks.

XpertHR surveyed 160 organisations about their sick pay policies and procedures.

For more information on the findings, view the full XpertHR report on sick pay arrangements. Listen to XpertHR’s pay and benefits editor discussing the survey in our weekly podcast.

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