Returning to work on lighter duties

Returning to work on lighter duties

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One of our employees, a mechanical fitter, has taken extensive absence following a shoulder operation some months ago. We have identified a number of lighter duties, such as conducting risk assessments, which he could perform until he is fully fit to return to his normal duties - can he refuse? If he can, is there anything we can do about it? I should mention we have an extremely generous occupational sick pay scheme, which does little to encourage people back to work, it's proving a bit of a thorn in my side! Can anyone offer any advice?
Maria Ryan

Replies (3)

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By tiggercat1
20th Dec 2005 23:29

I sometimes think that sick pay schemes can encourage absence, however I would proceed as follows. Firstly speak to the indvidual and explain that you would like him to see your Occ Health Specialist. You could discuss alternative work and so long as it is reasonable and you have the usual flexibility in the contract I can't see any reason why he should refuse. Your questions to Occ health should then include reference to his ability to carry out temporary duties and any support that might be required. They will write to his GP if they need clarification. Ultimately it is your call on further action but I don't think that any drastic approach will be needed if this is done in the correct manner.

I think if you approach things in this way you will have acted reasonably.

Thanks Simon

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By patward
07th Feb 2006 13:10

Thank you for your question Maria. As part of our series: What's the answer? we asked Helen Badger, employment law expert at Browne Jacobson and Chris Syder, head of employment at Clarkslegal LLP London branch about the considerations of offering alternative work where normal duties are no longer safe.

To see their responses go to: What's the answer? Returning to work on lighter duties

I hope the information is of use and do tell us what happened next.

Best Wishes,
Annie Hayes, HR Zone Editor

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By User deleted
03rd Feb 2006 13:50

Certainly I agree with Simon having got to this position. You need a medical opinion on which to base decisions. It is my experience that the individual's GP will be little help to you.

This isn't the real problem though! Assuming this guy's behaviour is not wildly untypical, which view is supported by your generous absence policy statement, then you should ask why your employees don't want to work and why the management is failing to do anything about it!

This is just the tip of a very big iceberg perhaps?

Good luck.

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