If a member of your domestic staff: housekeeper, carer, chauffeur, etc. falls ill and becomes, effectively, long term sick, it presents a host of problems for you as an employer. Traditionally, that staff member would not return to work until fully fit again.
However, a new service being launched by the government may assist in bridging the gap between unfit and fully fit, and perhaps your staff member is not aware of it, or how it may be able to assist them.
Following a pilot scheme in 11 areas, the new Fit for Work Service is to be rolled out across the country.
The new service will offer support for people in the early stages of sickness absence. The intention is that employers will receive independent advice from the scheme in cases of sickness absence lasting more than four weeks. In the UK fewer than 50% of workers have access to occupational health services. Although early involvement in occupation health services can make a significant difference to the outcome, too few people are assisted in this way.
It is not solely physical issues preventing people from returning to work which were addressed in the pilot schemes, but also psychological and social factors, such as debt.
The scheme has been introduced following a major report and recommendations by Dame Carol Black.
Once the scheme becomes established throughout the country, should a member of your staff fall ill, you should ensure they are aware of the scheme and its advantages. It may help both you and them.