Fit For Work
Fit For Work
Since 2010, we have been delivering the Fit for Work Service as part of our response to tackling unemployment in the local area. The Fit for Work Service has offered personalised, back to work support for employees suffering with a mild to moderate health condition and who are in the early stages of sickness absence. The service has also supported self-employed people and employees from SMEs (private businesses employing fewer than 250), who are still in work but who are struggling with a mild to moderate health condition that is having an impact upon their ability to work. The service has been available to employees living or working in the counties of Conwy & Denbighshire and the Bangor area of Gwynedd.
In 2013 to 2014, the Fit for Work Service has been funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government. In that time, we have supported a total of 1600 employees with short-term work-limiting health conditions to return to work or to retain their employment. Our services have been delivered by a team of case managers who work with clients to explore the issues impacting upon their ability to work, and to develop appropriate solutions. Where appropriate, we have been able to refer to physiotherapy, face to face counselling or other talking therapies. We have also signposted to other services for support with issues around relationships, drug and alcohol, debt, housing and employment mediation. With the client’s approval, we have also liaised with employers to discuss such matters as a phased return to work, amended hours or duties, or workplace adjustments.
We have also delivered a series of interventions to support employers to develop and improve their workplace health practices. We have delivered a programme of free monthly workshops for employers focused on the promotion of health and wellbeing in the workplace, which have been attended by staff from over 160 small or medium sized businesses. In addition, over 60 employees from SMEs have completed a ten-month management training programme with Learn2Inspire, with 20 of these accessing additional coaching support from Medra Coaching Ltd.
RCS’s Fit for Work Service stopped taking new referrals in December 2014, as our European funding is now coming to an end.
The Department of Work and Pensions has now launched its new Fit for Work Service across the whole of the UK, which will support people in work with health conditions.
The new service has two key elements:
1. Free, expert and impartial work-related health advice for employers, employees and GPs. via a website and telephone line
2. Referral to an occupational health professional for employees who have been off sick or who are likely to be off sick for four weeks or more.
There will be a phased roll-out of the referral service taking place over a period of months.
For more information on DWP’s Fit for Work Service, use the free phone advice line on 0800 032 6235 (in English) or 0800 032 6233 (Cymraeg). or visit www.fitforwork.org