Fit for Work service in place

Implementation date: Autumn 2015

The Fit for Work service, previously known as the Health and Work Service, will offer free occupational health assistance to employees, employers and GPs.

Key details

Following a review of the sickness absence system in Great Britain, conducted by Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE, the Government decided to establish a health and work assessment and advisory service to make occupational health advice more readily available to employers and employees enabling them to manage sickness absence better.

The Fit for Work service provides access to a website portal containing health and work information and a telephone advice service available to employers, employees and GPs. This advice service is already up and running. More information is in the Fit for Work: guidance for employers.

The second element of the service is a referral system under which qualifying employees on a period of sickness absence lasting four weeks or more can be referred for a free, confidential occupational health assessment and a return to work plan. The referral service is being rolled out and is expected to be fully available by the Autumn 2015. A Rollout Map of the service detailing the availability of the service across England and Wales is available on the Fit for Work website.

From 1 January 2015 there is a tax exemption of up to £500 (per year, per employee) on medical treatments recommended to help employees return to work. This will be applicable to treatments recommended by health professionals within the Fit for Work service and health professionals within employer-arranged occupational health services.