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Sick leave plans spark controversy

Sick leave plans spark controversy

A debate has been sparked over recommendations to the Government on changes in dealing with employees on long-term sick leave.

An independent review said currently absentees are often "pushed away" from the workplace and offered little help in returning to their job quickly.

The review recommended a new Independent Assessment Service that employers and GPs can refer long-term sickness absence cases to for advice, claiming that employers could save around £100 million a year from reductions to sick pay bills.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said the current sick leave certification method does not need changing, but the review was welcomed by business leaders with 70% of firms believing the current rules on tackling absence are a burden.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The existing 'fit note' system does not work for business. Since employers want individuals back in the workplace as soon as they are able, the proposal for a thorough assessment at four weeks will boost employer confidence."

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