Statement of Fitness for Work (The Fit Note)

Statement of Fitness for Work (The Fit Note)

Return to work tick boxes

Where a doctor has advised that your employee may be fit for work they will include some comments on their patient’s condition and, where appropriate, will tick one or more of the four tick boxes on the Statement. These are common ways to help someone with a health condition return to work. The tick boxes are:

Phased return to work. A doctor will recommend this where they believe that your employee may benefit from a gradual increase in the intensity of their work duties or their working hours.

For example, agreeing that:

  • an employee following an operation could return to work on reduced hours, gradually increasing to their normal hours over an agreed period of time; or
  • an employee with a back or shoulder problem, whose job involves lifting, gradually increases the quantity or intensity of their work. This could help them return to work earlier whilst rebuilding their capacity for manual work.

Altered hours. A doctor will recommend this where they believe that your employee will benefit from a change to the hours that they work, in order for them to return to work. This does not necessarily mean working fewer hours.

For example:

  • Providing the option to start (and/or leave) later could support someone who is unable to drive and struggles with rush hour public transport to continue working.
  • Allowing more flexible hours could support someone who is still receiving treatment to return to work and attend treatment sessions during working hours.

Amended duties. A doctor will recommend this where they believe your employee may be able to return to work if their duties are amended to take into account their condition.

Examples of amended duties:

  • Removing heavy lifting from the job of someone who has a back injury could help them return to work whilst recovering from their injury.
  • Reducing or removing a more pressured part of a job role (such as dealing with complaints), could help someone off work with stress return to work.

Workplace adaptations. A doctor will recommend this where they believe your employee may be able to return to work if their workplace is adapted to take into account their condition.

Examples of workplace adaptations:

  • A ground floor workstation for an individual who has problems going up and down stairs (this may occur in cases of arthritis, for example).
  • Arranging for a parking space near the entrance to the workplace, could help someone who has reduced mobility post surgery return to work.

In determining what action you are able to take as a result of advice given on a fit note, you will need to consider whether a revised workplace risk assessment is required and to keep it under review. It may be helpful to discuss this process with your employee or their representative.

Fit Note © Crown Copyright 2013

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