Sickness absence

In general it is accepted that work is essential to health, well-being and self-esteem.
Common mental health problems and musculoskeletal disorders are amongst the important causes of sickness absence.
The CBI calculates that 175 million working days are lost each year due to sickness absence. Absences of 4 weeks make up an estimated 6% of the number of absences and represent 43% of days lost.


Illness, health beliefs, and personal and organisational issues are important determinants of sickness absence.

It is a common misperception that work is bad for your recovery and that a return cannot take place until completely symptom free.


A Fit Note allows doctors to advise people who are on sick absence for over 7 days on whether particular types of  support from their employer may be helpful to allow an early return to work.

Returning to work can in many cases help recovery  as work is generally good for health and wellbeing.

What to do

  • Record sickness absence and keep in touch
  • Plan and implement workplace amendments/adjustments where appropriate
  • Use professional advice if necessary
  • Agree and review a plan for return to work
  • Co-ordinate the process of returning to work


Key legislation

Please note that these links are to the original legislation, visitors should verify for themselves whether legislation is in force or whether it has been amended or repealed by subsequent legislation.