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April 5, 2010

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Free information – Get to grips with the new fit note

The new fit-note system comes into force today (6 April) and one trade body is using its expertise in managing sickness absence to help employers cope with the changes.

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation aims to use its multi-disciplinary expertise in occupational health, employment law and human resources to help employers reap the benefits of the new system of fit notes, under which patients are designated by their GP as ‘not fit for work’ or ‘may be fit for some work’.

The EEF, through its Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Sayeed Khan, was heavily involved in the development of the new system, representing employers in government consultations and in training GPs to ensure it is a success for business, employees and their medical advisors.  €ᄄ

The organisation has developed a series of seminars and produced guidance and an award-winning toolkit to help employers adjust to the new system and improve their sickness-absence management. The seminars, which will run nationwide throughout April and May, are aimed at HR managers, line managers, health and safety, and occupational health professionals.€ᄄ

Said Professor Khan: “After more than 60 years of using the old ‘sick note’ the new ‘fit note’ is the right tool for modern medicine and a modern society. To improve sickness-absence management we have to change the culture away from what people can’t do to what they can do. The new system is a welcome change and, for those companies that embrace it, it will bring significant business benefits.”€ᄄ

According to the EEF, evidence shows that better management of sickness absence can bring significant business benefits. The organisation’s 2009 sickness-absence survey found that overall levels of sickness absence in manufacturing have continued to fall in recent years, with the total now standing at 6.2 days per employee each year.€ᄄ €ᄄ

This continues a trend which has shown that 3 million fewer days are now being lost due to sickness absence each year in manufacturing compared to 2005 –  equivalent to one day less per employee.

The increased emphasis on sickness absence management is highlighted by 91 per cent of companies having a written absence policy. In addition, 50 per cent and 43 per cent of employers train their managers in addressing short and long-term absence, respectively.

To find out more about the seminars, click here.

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