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Alongside your legal responsibilities for health and safety, as an employer, you have a very important role to play in managing and reducing sickness absence and creating a positive and healthy environment for employees, which in turn can positively impact your business.
Most people suffer from minor illnesses that naturally resolve themselves over the short term and may on occasion lead to brief periods of sick leave.
However, for a small number of employees, sickness absence can drift from weeks to months. This may make a return to work less likely but an early intervention by the employer will help prevent this situation from occurring.
The sick note changed to become a 'fit note' in April 2010. The fit note is intended to provide additional advice that can support both employers and employees, by helping people back to work as soon as possible. GPs can now advise that your employee is:
Unfit for work
May be fit for work, taking account of the following advice (where the GP may then advise the following)
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance on sickness absence (external link)
UK Government 'fit note' guidance and resources (external link)
Attendance management tool
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