The Fit for Work service, previously known as the Health and Work Service, was launched at the end of 2014 and has been welcomed by the private sector. It is designed to help employers deal with sickness absence and health conditions, as well as providing support to employees. Here we share some useful info on the service…

Two parts – an occupational health referral service and advice

The Government Fit for Work service is targeted to provide help and support for SMEs who are unlikely to have occupational health support, as well as larger SMEs whose HR departments may benefit from some specialist advice and help.

  • Employee

For the employee, the service is there to provide advice free of charge through a web-based library of information and a telephone advice service. Free impartial advice is provided by occupational health professionals.

  • Employer

If you have an employee who has been absent due to sickness for four weeks, you can refer them for a free occupational health assessment. Employees who agree to the assessment will be offered a telephone assessment which can be used to form a return to work plan. You can also make use of their email and telephone service, and their website library to improve your knowledge in response to a specific staff situation.


If you feel the Fit for Work service could be of help in your organisation then it is advisable to share the information with your employees. You could do this by referencing it in your own policies and procedures and posting information on staff notice boards. Clarify what support you have in place for employees on long-term sick leave and ensure that your HR policies are up to date and legally compliant.

If you are concerned by your long term sickness rates, or how you can support your employees, we would be happy to discuss your options. We provide HR expert advice and support whether on an online, ad-hoc or HR consultancy basis, as an outsourced part of your team. Whether it is a specific issue or a review of your policies you would like to discuss, we look forward to hearing from you on 01473 360160.

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