As of 6 April 2010, the sick note will change and become the fit note, allowing doctors to advise on how employees may be able to return to work.
Employers must not be mistaken with how this new regime fits with the existing reporting procedures under The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) for over three day injuries.
RIDDOR require employers to report all major injuries, including over three day injuries, where the employee is away from work or unable to perform their ‘normal work duties’ for more than three consecutive days.
Under the new fit note regime, an employee may suffer an accident at work but the doctor may advise that they are fit to return to work immediately but to only undertake less arduous duties.
In this scenario, if the employee is unable to perform their normal work duties for more than three consecutive days, as a result of the injury at work, then this must be reported under RIDDOR. It is irrelevant, for the purposes of RIDDOR, if the employee is at work but carrying out a different task.
It is important to note that the three days must be consecutive and must relate to the injury. For example, if the employee suffered an injury and returned to work for a day, but then had three consecutive days off work as a result of the original incident, this would need to be reported under RIDDOR.
If the incident involved an employee being off work for a number of days, but not three days in a row then the injury is not reportable under RIDDOR.
For any queries please contact a member of the Regulatory Team.