07 April 2010 #Employment
Only 22% of employers believe that the introduction of Statements of Fitness for Work, commonly known as "Fit Notes", will reduce levels of absence in their workplace. This was the finding of a survey of 1,400 private and public sector employers conducted by Kronos, the workforce management consultancy.
Worryingly, more than a third of the employers surveyed did not know that Fit Notes are to be introduced, despite the fact that after the Easter weekend employees will start to present Fit Notes and expect their employers to know how to deal with them. 64% of respondents have not yet received any guidance from their organisations as to how to manage receipt of Fit Notes.
Although the Fit Note is hailed by the Government as a solution for reducing long-term sickness, less than a quarter of those surveyed believe it will solve more problems that it creates. Nearly half of respondents doubt the ability of GPs to assess the functional impairment of an employee and just over a quarter of respondents believe a lack of employee understanding and information will be the main barrier to the Fit Note`s success.
Employers also believe that employees who currently abuse the sickness absence system will continue to do so, playing up their ailments to their GP to lessen the work they may be capable of doing. Others are concerned that the Fit Note will put pressure on employees to work when not well. Those who support the Fit Note, however, believe it will assist in getting people back to some sort of work as soon as they are able and, therefore, getting them back to work sooner.