The latest from the Governments Fit to Work scheme – GPs are now able to refer patients who have been, or are likely to be, off work sick for four weeks or more. This means employers may start to receive ‘Return to Work Plans’ for their employees.
These are designed to help both employees who are off sick return to work, and employers to manage the impact of sickness absence on their business. They also provide evidence of sickness for pay purposes, replacing the need for a fit note.
Fit for Work helps you to better understand and manage sickness absence within your organisation. Expert and impartial advice is delivered by a team of occupational health professionals. You can chat online to a specialist advisor, email a question or call 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Cymraeg). There is also have a library of advice containing articles on a range of health and work topics.
The Fit for Work referral service is rolling out across England and Wales over the coming months. A gradual roll-out will enable building of experience, learning and implementation improvements into ongoing plans. If you are in a roll out area, and you have employees who are, or are likely to be, off work for four weeks or more, you may start to receive step-by-step Return to Work Plans tailored to your employees’ needs. All employers nationally will be able to refer from autumn 2015.
Sign-up to get involved and receive updates about roll-out of the service.
Thought I’d post an article derived from recent proposals from the Government regarding mental health and employment.
The Government has announced that a further £12 million is being invested to support people with mental health conditions return to work.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) have mental health conditions. Mental ill-health is estimated to cost taxpayers and businesses £105 billion a year in health and police services, welfare benefits and sickness absence.
Four pilot areas will use the funding to test whether better coordination of mental health and employment services could help thousands of people find and stay in work as well as to improve their mental health.
Each of the pilots will test a number of different approaches, including:
• Key workers and individual support packages to help claimants create bespoke action plans and coordinate existing local support services;
• Support for new employees to make sure they can stay in work and cope with anxiety and other on-going problems;
• Training employment advisers to identify mental health problems and GPs to recognise the importance of work in improving mental health.
Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: “We want people with mental health conditions to have the same opportunities in the world or work as everyone else and not simply be written off as often happened in the past.
“That is why we are trialing different types of support to improve employment and health outcomes for people with common mental health problems.”
The four pilot areas are Blackpool, Greater Manchester, North East Combined Authority and West London Alliance. All four pilots were previously announced as part of the
Growth Deals agreements in July 2014 and will measure the impact of integrated services for 5,000 people.
The £12 million investment includes £6 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government and £6 million match-funding from the pilot areas.
A new cross-government Mental Health Taskforce has also been set up to look at the help people need to get back into work and how to improve crisis care and how to improve crisis care and mental health services for young people.
“These proposals look fine on paper, and that’s all. More measures nationally are needed now to assist people with mental health problems and their key workers, many of them having faced redundancy or relocation in the last few years.”