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Health and Safety

Sickness Absence

Workers should not made ill or injured while at work, however if they are, it is important they are given support to ensure that they make a full and early recovery. A good policy of managing sickness absence can help this. Unfortunately many employers see managing sickness absence as forcing employers back to work as soon as possible, or disciplining those who are off work more regularly than others

People often think that there is a "sicknote culture" in Britain. In fact the opposite is the truth. More people go to work when ill than stay at home when well, and sickness absence rates have been falling steadily over the past 10 years

The TUC believes that being at work, in a rewarding job with a supportive employer, can be good for your health and being off work can make you feel worse. That is why we encourage jointly agreed sickness absence policies that support sick or injured workers. Positive sickness absence policies, developed in partnership with unions can make positive inroads into reducing absenteeism, especially if combined with good preventative measures aimed at stopping workers being made ill through back pain, stress, exposure to chemicals slips and trips etc


HSE guide for safety representatives on tackling sickness absence(pdf file)

The most recent documents available on this subject are:

TUC slams CBI's sick response
The CBI should quit its bellyaching about sickness levels and do something to make work less sickening, the TUC has said.
16 May 2008

UNISON warning on well note move
There must be more investigation into the concept of well notes before they are introduced as an alternative to sick notes, public sector union UNISON has said.
PDF version available for download
7 March 2008

Government calls for “well notes”
Health secretary Alan Johnson has said he wants to see doctors to shift away from sicknotes and instead to issue “well notes,” setting out what tasks a worker can perform instead of certificates automatically signing them off
22 February 2008

Sick leave policy takes a turn for the worse
Government proposals to dramatically revamp the sick note system have been labelled a “missed opportunity” by the medical profession and trade unions.
22 February 2008

Submission to Carol Black review of the health of the working age population
The TUC has submitted a response to the review by Dame Carol Black of the health of the Working Age Population. This deals with prevention, sickness absence management, occupational health provision, rehabilitation and lifestyle issues. It also explores the arguement that 'work is good for you' and concludes that while 'good' work can be good for you, work has also led to 2.2 million people having a work-related illness.
23 November 2007

'Work while you're sick' is hurting firms
Pressure to stagger into work when sick is hurting workers and damaging productivity, commitment levels and motivation, according to research from the CMI.
PDF version available for download
19 October 2007

Older documents - 16   >

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