New Strategy for Sickness Absence

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The Government has opted to set up the Independent Assessment Service (IAS) to assist employers in tackling long-term sickness absence. Dame Carol Black was tasked by the Government to conduct a review on sickness absence in the workplace and to consider its effects on both the employee and the employer. Her report, Health at Work – An Independent Review of Sickness Absence, was published in November 2011. One of the main recommendations was the creation of the new state-funded IAS to be run by occupational health professionals. Its main focus would be on:
  • absence
  • offering advice to the employee and the employer
  • helping support the employee to return to work when appropriate
Government ministers are in the process of finalising the details but it is anticipated that the IAS will be launched during the first part of 2014. One detail that has been confirmed is that if an employee refuses to co-operate with the IAS, no further fit notes will be issued to them. Good news for the employer as without medical evidence, the employer can refuse to pay them Statutory Sick Pay and contractual sick pay.

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