In May the CBI indicated that fit notes had failed to deliver a reduction in sickness absence. It is now reported that research conducted ComRes (on behalf of Legal & General) reinforces this view – indicating that even GPs are not yet convinced of the effectiveness of the fit note system.
All very interesting – but not exactly rocket science! In a world where employees refuse to take responsibility for poor performance, claiming “stress at work” as soon as performance issues are addressed, and proceed directly to their over-worked under-resourced GP (with a list of Googled stress symptoms) to be signed off, it is little wonder that businesses have little or no faith in the system or in the role of GPs in helping people keep their jobs during an illness.
The proposed review of workplace absence announced by the Coalition Government, to be led by Dame Carol Black and David Frost, will obviously not prevent unscrupulous employees claiming “stress” in order to avoid performance management or disciplinary issues which may ultimately result in them losing employment. Indeed, the review will need to be considerably more robust than anything that has preceded it if it is to have any real impact.
That said, ultimately HRspy anticipates there is little that can be done in a world where some employees take no responsibility for their actions, lie without compunction and GPs have little choice but to take alleged symptoms at face value!