IGA advice: Where you stand when an employee provides a “maybe fit” note

Everything you need to know about sick notes – now referred to as fit notes

IGA advice: Where you stand when an employee provides a “maybe fit” note
IGA issues advice for member about an employee's maybe fit note. Image: Bigstock.

The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has published advice it gave to a member whose employee provided a “maybe fit” note.

IGA member asks…

“We have an employee who has provided us with a fit note saying that she maybe fit for work subject to adjustments.

“The adjustments being varying the hours of her working day.

“We are not sure we can accommodate this, so what does it mean?

“Does the company have to agree to these adjustments and, if not, what can we do?”

IGA responds…

Where a “maybe fit” note is provided by an employee, inevitably it will follow with some form of suggested amendments by the GP.

It is not a legal requirement to comply with the GP’s suggestions, however, it would still be prudent to meet with the employee to discuss the adjustments and whether they can be facilitated or not.

Where they can be facilitated, then the employee would return to work and have those adjustments put in place.

Any such adjustments would only last for the period that the fit note covers.

Fit notes explained

Previously a sick note simply stated whether a doctor believed that a person should or should not be in work.

However changes in 2010 and further updates in 2012 now mean that the new medical statement either indicates that a person is not fit for work, or that they might be fit for work under certain circumstances.

The doctor is also able to suggest changes that would assist a return to work.

There is no requirement for the GP to write anything apart from that the person is not fit for work and how long the person is “signed off” for, and in most cases the patient and employer will see no change in the information that the medical statement gives.

If the employee is signed as maybe fit for one month, then the adjustments would only be needed for a month.

At the end of that period, arguably the employee should then be fully fit to return to their normal duties, unless they go back to their GP and receive a further “maybe fit” note.

The note itself would specify whether or not the employee needs to be reassessed by the GP, but in most cases the answer is no.

On the other hand, where the company cannot put in place the suggested adjustments, provided these are for objective reasons then legally the employee would remain on full time sickness absence until they are fully fit to return to their role.

Unless there is a contractual sick pay policy in place, the employee therefore would continue to receive statutory sick pay.

For further information about the IGA, click ‘more details’ below.

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