On the 6 April 2010 the infamous “sick note” was replaced by the “fit note” or, to give it its technical name, the Statement of Fitness to Work.

Previously GPs were only able to advise that an employee should refrain from working or now was fit to work. The fit note offers another option for doctors. They can suggest that an employee may be fit to work taking certain advice into consideration. It aims to focus on what an employee may be able to do at work rather than what they cannot do, to encourage more people to return to work in some capacity earlier than they otherwise would have done.

The GP’s advice might include such suggestions as staggering a return to work; working flexibly; changing the duties of the role or adapting the workplace to accommodate the employee’s needs.