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Blog  »  January 2015  »  Fit for Work Service - Blog
Jan 15

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Fit for Work Service

Fit for Work Service (FFWS) is a new free government service, introduced with the intention of helping UK workplaces manage sickness absences. The Fit for Work scheme provides an occupational health assessment and general health and work advice to employees, employers and GPs.


When an employee has reached, or is expected to reach four weeks of absence through sickness, the GP will refer them to the FFWS. Employers can also make the referral after four weeks of absence.

All referrals will be at the consent of the employee. If the employee refuses to attend, the GP may stop issuing the Fit Note. The consequence of this is that without the Fit Note, the employer is unable to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

On attending for assessment the employee will be given a return to work plan, with recommendations on how they can return to the workplace quickly.


The FFWS will offer free, “independent objective” advice to GPs, employees and employers on how to prevent sickness absences occurring, and how to assist employees returning to the workplace when absences do occur. This advice service will be accessible via telephone and online services.

Tax Exemptions

From 1st January 2015, the Government is also introducing a tax exemption of up to £500 (per year, per employee) on medical treatments recommended by the FFWS to help their employees return to work.

General Advice

Both services have been designed to compliment rather than replace existing occupational health service schemes. However, the service will be particularly beneficial to smaller organisations that are likely to have limited existing occupational health services in place. The service is being rolled out across the UK throughout 2015 and further details are expected during the year. In the meantime, employers are recommended to update their sickness absence policies to reflect the availability of Fit for Work.

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Posted in Company Handbook, Contract of employment, Sick Leave/Absence Management


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