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Hendlem  
#1 Posted : 02 April 2024 09:16:20(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Hendlem

It seems there's no defintive answer for this topic, but here goes...

An employee who works as a shop floor Production Team Leader went off 4-weeks ago with a fractured ankle and was signed off for 6-weeks. The employee now strongly wishes to return to work and I have explained in a text message exchange that she cannot return to work on the shop floor in her medical boot.

This morning, an email has been issued by HR saying:

"I’ve received an email from (NAME) this morning. Her boot is off and has been for a couple of days and she is managing fine without it. Her GP has said she does not need to see them again before returning to work and this is also confirmed on her last fit note.

So I have agreed that (NAME) can come back in to work tomorrow."

Do I have grounds to challenge this decision? In my own career, if I've been off with a sick note, I've never been permitted to return before the sick note expired (albeit this did relate to mental health detriment).

With regard for amended duties, I struggle to believe sufficient administrative work is available. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

MrBrightside  
#2 Posted : 02 April 2024 09:25:07(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MrBrightside

Yes they can come back even if they have been signed off longer on their fit note, however it is up to the employer to decide if they can come back or not.

You have to make reasonable adjustments and I tend to carry out a Workplace Adjustment Assessment in these circumstances. If you strongly belive that the person is unable to carry out their normal duties and there is no other work available, you will need some evidence to back this up.

thanks 1 user thanked MrBrightside for this useful post.
Hendlem on 02/04/2024(UTC)
Roundtuit  
#3 Posted : 02 April 2024 10:42:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Please consider the terminology is no longer "Sick Note" but rather "Fit Note".

At time of issue it is the medical practitioners best guess at when someone should return to full fitness OR may attend the workplace in consideration of additional advice - phased return, amended duties, altered hours or adaptations to the workplace.

Some patients may see the issuer for an extension note if recovery is slow.

Or they feel well enough within themselves to return before the listed date or period has expired.

In our business anyone returning after three weeks (or more) away is required to attend a return to work briefing before going to their normal employment / shift pattern so they can be brought up to date with any significant changes during their absence.

Captcha RA14

Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 02 April 2024 10:42:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Please consider the terminology is no longer "Sick Note" but rather "Fit Note".

At time of issue it is the medical practitioners best guess at when someone should return to full fitness OR may attend the workplace in consideration of additional advice - phased return, amended duties, altered hours or adaptations to the workplace.

Some patients may see the issuer for an extension note if recovery is slow.

Or they feel well enough within themselves to return before the listed date or period has expired.

In our business anyone returning after three weeks (or more) away is required to attend a return to work briefing before going to their normal employment / shift pattern so they can be brought up to date with any significant changes during their absence.

Captcha RA14

peter gotch  
#5 Posted : 02 April 2024 14:18:17(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
peter gotch

Hi Hendlem

I am with previous responders.

Unless you can come up with a convincing argument as to why this person cannot return to do whatever duties they are asked to do on their return, then they can return.

Let's suppose she is returning to their normal role as a shop floor supervisor.

Well, may be that means wearing steel toe caps and mid soles in their footwear. 

Might be the case that she is now OK without wearing the medical boot that the NHS provided instead of applying a cast, so possibly a relatively minor fracture of the ankle 

That doesn't translate into being able to work for a full shift in safety boots, but may be she doesn't actually need to wear such footwear all the time, e.g. as they have duties sitting down (outside the danger zone) to do admin tasks.

OR the safety boot rule might be more than is legally necessary. Lots of employers impose blanket PPE rules that are not justifiable.

So, time for a diplomatic discussion with the person concerned and those she works with.

In your first thread on these Forums, you commented:

"I'm currently an Apprentice H&S Officer......."

Now, please do not take this as criticism (it's NOT), but that statement says that you are on a steep learning curve. Perhaps you have been thrown some early curve balls, or have just picked up those curve balls, but in three postings to date you have flagged up the common scenario where the line between what HR should do and what falls to "H&S" can be very easily blurred.

....and history is full of cases where "H&S" has said "NO" to things that HR (or others) have decided were OK to happen, because sometime the Safety Bod has gone in feet first.

Happens quite often when the Safety Bods manage to get buy in to what are sometimes called Golden Rules that are not properly thought through.

Edited by user 02 April 2024 14:29:38(UTC)  | Reason: Minor addition

firesafety101  
#6 Posted : 02 April 2024 16:24:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
firesafety101

Does she lose wages while off sick/injured?

Did dhe receive the injury while at work?

Did she remove the "boot" because you told her she couldn't wear it at work?

If she re-injures her ankle while working without the boot you should expect a claim.

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