This guideline covers how to help people return to work after long-term sickness absence, reduce recurring sickness absence, and help prevent people moving from short-term to long-term sickness absence.
This guideline includes new and updated recommendations on:
- workplace culture and policies
- assessing and certifying fitness for work
- statement of fitness for work
- making workplace adjustments
- keeping in touch with people on sickness absence
- early intervention
- sustainable return to work and reducing recurrence of absence
It also includes recommendations on:
Who is it for?
- Employers' representatives including managers, human resource professionals and occupational health professionals
- GPs and secondary care specialists
- Employees and their workplace representatives
- Commissioners of advice and support services for people who are not in work and are receiving benefits because of their health or a disability, and users of these services
Guideline development process
NICE worked with Public Health England to develop this guidance.
This guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline PH19 (March 2009).
The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.