“We have an employee who has provided us with a Fit Note saying that she maybe fit for work subject to adjustments. The adjustments being varying the hours of her working day. We are not sure we can accommodate this, so what does it mean, does the company have to agree to these adjustments and, if not, what can we do?”
Where a “Maybe Fit” note is provided by an employee, inevitably it will follow with some form of suggested amendments by the GP. It is not a legal requirement to comply with the GP’s suggestions, however, it would still be prudent to meet with the employee to discuss the adjustments and whether they can be facilitated or not. Where they can be facilitated, then the employee would return to work and have those adjustments put in place. Any such adjustments would only last for the period that the Fit Note covers. For example, if the employee is signed as Maybe Fit for one month, then the adjustments would only be needed for a month. At the end of that period, arguably the employee should then be fully fit to return to their normal duties, unless they go back to their GP and receive a further “Maybe Fit” note. The Fit Note itself would specify whether or not the employee needs to be reassessed by the GP, but in most cases the answer is no.
On the other hand, where the company cannot put in place the suggested adjustments, provided these are for objective reasons (rather than the company seeming to be difficult) then legally the employee would remain on full time sickness absence until they are fully fit to return to their role. Unless there is a contractual sick pay policy in place, the employee therefore would continue to receive statutory sick pay.
In summary, it really depends on what can be agreed between the parties, so if the GP’s suggestions cannot be accommodated to the letter but a variation of them can, provided both the employee and the employer are happy then a return to work potentially could be facilitated albeit with it slightly different amendments.
Motor Industry Legal Services
Motor Industry Legal Services (MILS Solicitors) provides fully comprehensive legal advice and representation to UK motor retailers for one annual fee. It is the only law firm in the UK which specialises in motor law and motor trade law. MILS currently advises over 1,000 individual businesses within the sector as well as the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and its members.