So the big idea was that people who were off work due to illness might be able to do some work, perhaps not their regular work, or perhaps people returning to work while recovering from illness might be better having a graduated return.
Rather than simply signing people off work while ill and then back to work when able, the ‘Fit Note‘ is meant to replace the ‘Sick Note’ and get people back to work earlier. Except… that over the last few months I’ve become aware of employers only allowing people back to work gradually if they use their holidays to cover the days they aren’t working. For example, say someone is signed back ‘to a graduated return to work’. If the employee, say, starts back at 3/5 days a week, they are being expected to use holidays to make up the shortfall to their normal working week.
Is this what was intended? I am not a fan of the new Med 3 (the sick/fit note) anyway, but this seems pretty unfair – after all, it may be better for the employee to wait until they are better, can return to full duties – and keep their holidays intact.
So if anyone is reading – is the use of holidays in such a way legally allowable? (I am being told that it is all in the contract – but this ‘fit note’ is new and most contracts won’t have anticipated it.) Is this what Fit Notes were meant to do? And why on earth would patients want one if they are going to end up being penalised?