Legislation on sick leave gets facelift.

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UK regulations governing how sickness absences from work are handled have changed with the introduction of the new "fit note".

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Under the new system, a general practitioner can advise whether a patient "may be fit for work" and offer advice on the effects of their condition. They also have the option to suggest that the individual would be able to work, subject to the employer's agreement, if temporary changes such as reduced working hours or amended duties could be accommodated.

The Department for Work and Pensions has issued guidance explaining the implications for employers (www.dwp.gov.uk/fitnote). Lord McKenzie, a minister at the department, argued that the changes would reduce the costs for employers when their staff went off sick for Long periods. "We know work is good for people's health. With the right support in...

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