Injury Claims Could Rise Due To New Sick Note Procedures

It has been confirmed that from April 1st, the “sick note” as we currently know it will be replaced by a new document the “fit note,” of which scheme is designed to help businesses combat long-term absences due to illness, but many fear this step could lead to an increased number of personal injury claims.
Sickness absences cost businesses more that 12bn per year and there are 2.6m people currently off work on incapacity benefit. From flu and stress to back strains, the traditional sick note has for decades signed employees off work.
This pending implementation is more than just a name change, it is a new system created to help reduce the number of absences from work, focusing on long-term absences and those on incapacity benefits.
The main difference between the two schemes is that the sick note simply signs an individual off work for a certain length of time, whereas the “fit note” will declare if it is considered that the patient may be able to carry out only certain duties, or that they can do their job but with reduced hours.
For example, a person employed as a driver who has suffered back strains might not Incident Investigation Training be able to drive, but they could possibly carry out an administrative role.
With the aim of helping employees absent from work to make a speedy recovery and return to their workplace as soon as possible, the government sought advice from healthcare professionals, employers and trade unions in order to develop the new “fit note” scheme.
Surveys show that the east of England has the highest percentage of employees who are absent from work for one or more day each week, with customer services being the most affected sector. Those in legal services have the lowest.
Contrary to the aims of introducing the sick note, it is feared by some that this new initiative may end up costing UK businesses more than it might save them, seeing an increased level of personal injury claims for compensation made against businesses.
With regards to injury claims, it is thought by some that the “fit note” system would make it more difficult for the employer to allow the individual Demand Letter Process back to work as the responsibility for assessing whether the person is fit to return to work would shift from the doctor to the employer.
At present, some employers do not allow their employees to go back to work while they are still under a sick note because at this time if any relapse or health problem occurs the company may not be covered by their liability insurance if the person chooses to claim for compensation.

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