Corporate Investigator Answers Investigation

Fit Notes

Corporate Investigation

The issuing of Fit Notes is not always a guarantee that an employee is genuinely sick


The Fit Note replaced the old 'sick note' and aims to provide useful information on how your employee's condition affects what they do and how they might be able to return to work. A doctor will give a 'may be fit for work' statement if they think that your employee's health condition may allow them to work – as long as you give them the appropriate support

What is “appropriate support”? A doctor will be able to suggest ways of helping an employee get back to work. This might mean discussing: a phased return to work – eg, starting one day a week altered hours – a limited number of hours a day as the employee regains energy levels amended duties – eg avoiding lifting or customer-facing duties workplace adaptations – technology or equipment or the creation of a support network at work. The doctor will also provide general details of the functional effect of the individual's condition, for example “not able to lift shoulder height”

Will I be obliged to act on the doctor's advice? No – you don't have to act on any of the doctor's recommendations. The alternative is that your employee can simply be signed off sick, so it is really in your interest to help them back into work if possible

Your responsibilities to pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) have not changed. SSP will still be payable under the current rules for any sickness absence of 4 days or more where the employee meets the qualifying conditions. Where a doctor has advised that an employee may be fit for work, but the employee remains off work because you are not able to provide the necessary support, you should consider the advice on the Statement as you would a 'not fit for work' Statement

Not all absence from sickness is genuine - if you have a suspicion, then you should call us in to investigate. Any assignment undertaken is handled discreetly; this may involve discreet surveillance, background research or a combination of different skills, for example in computer interrogation and analysis. Evidence may be collated in a manner that is presentable in Court or Employment Tribunal

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