I’ve been signed off work for the last six weeks. Today I received a further month’s sick certificate. I noticed that at the bottom the doctor has chosen the option “I will not need to assess your fitness for work at the end of this period.” What does that mean?
Also, occupational health seem to be pushing me to go back to work. The psychiatrist said I have to be at least 50% better before considering going back to work. Now I feel as if I’m being backed into a corner and I’m not sure who to turn to for help.
Have doctor talk to occupational health. Doctor’s word is most important.
Maybe the doctor just doesn’t think you’re close enough to being able to work to evaluate you yet.
This means to your employer that after it expires you can return to work without getting permission from your doctor.
Your HR team use it to establish if you are fit to return, because they have a duty of care.
The note can still be extended or reviewed by your doctor if needed, so it just gives you the freedom to do either.
occupational health is just a name, indicating they are trained in the relevant employment law for dealing with illness.
It does not automatically mean that they want to help you, though they will say that is there purpose.
Most OH teams I’ve come across are staffed by HR, and therefore view you as a resource.
The best advice I can give you for dealing with them is that taking one long absence is less bad than taking lots of little absences. They will pressure you with hints and innuendo, because the law prevents them from acting directly. You have some good protection in EU.
Often a phased return to work can be agreed, and also the law says they must allow you time off for recovery tasks such as hospital appointments, which generally includes therapy sessions - Assuming you decide to go that route.
Hope this is helpful and shows you don’t need to worry!
Thank you both for your replies. It’s been extremely helpful!