The Fit for Work service, formerly known as the Health and Work Service, is now in place and ready to provide occupational health assistance to employees, employers and GPs, free of charge.
A while back, the Government undertook a review of the sickness absence system in Great Britain, and as a result, decided to set up a health and work assessment and advisory service. The service would have the goal of making occupational health advice much more easily available to employers and employees, so that they were able to manage sickness absence in a more streamlined fashion.
What the Service Includes
The Fit for Work service opens up access to health and work information. This is made available via a telephone advice line for employers, employees and GPs. There is also a website portal boasting a variety of useful advice and information. You can read more in the Fit for Work: Guidance for Employers publication.
There is another element of the Fit for Work service, and that is a referral system that allows qualifying employees who have been off sick for 28 days or more to be referred for a free, confidential occupational health assessment, together with a return to work plan.
The referral service has been rolled out gradually and GPs are able to start referring patients now across England and Wales. Employers can start making referrals from autumn 2015 once GP referrals are complete.
Tax Exemption on Medical Treatments
Also, from 1 January 2015, a tax exemption was made available of up to £500 per year per employee on medical treatments. Again this was aimed at helping to get workers back into their roles after illness. The exemption is applicable to treatments recommended by health professionals within the Fit for Work service, as well as health professionals within occupational health services arranged by employers.
Unsure as to how the Fit for Work service operates? Want to learn more about your eligibility for tax exemption on medical treatments? Talk to your bookkeepers who will be able to advise you accordingly.