What is the Fit for Work service?
Fit for Work is a Government-funded service providing advice for employers, employees and GPs on matters relating to health and work, delivered through a website and telephone helpline.
Until 15 December 2017, the Fit for Work service in England and Wales also provided occupational health assessments on referral from the employee's GP or employer, where an employee was absent from work for at least four weeks. The service in England and Wales no longer accepts referrals. Any employees already referred to it before 15 December 2017 will continue to receive a service for up to 90 days.
Fit for Work Scotland is still accepting occupational health assessment referrals (for employees who live in Scotland). However, a government announcement on 30 November 2017 stated that the Fit for Work assessment service in Scotland will come to an end on 31 May 2018.
Where an employee has been referred to the service, an adviser from the Fit for Work service will carry out an occupational health assessment, usually over the phone. The employee will be provided with a return-to-work plan, with recommendations for steps that could help him or her to return to work. The return-to-work plan will be shared with the employer, unless the employee does not consent to this.
The employee will have a case manager at the Fit for Work service, who can arrange a further assessment if necessary. The employee will be discharged from the service:
- on returning to work;
- at the point when the service can no longer provide assistance (if this occurs within the first three months of absence); or
- if he or she has not returned to work after three months.