UK: PDQ - New legislation

A number of new legislative provisions will be coming into force from 6 April 2010 and notice has been given of other provisions coming into effect in April 2011. The key changes for employers to keep in mind are dealt with in this bulletin.

Fit notes

From 6 April 2010, GPs will start using the new Statements of Fitness For Work, known as 'Fit Notes'. The Government believes that the new Fit Notes (which will replace the former MED3 sick note) will enable doctors to provide clearer advice to their patients about the effects of their health condition. It is envisaged that this in turn should enable the patient to work more closely with the employer to facilitate a speedier return to work.

The key changes are:

  • The statement will list changes which might be made to an employee's work environment or job role to help facilitate a return to work. Where a doctor considers another option is more appropriate, he or she will have the opportunity to state this in the comments box.
  • There will no longer be a 'fit to work' option as previously existed with the sick notes. This is because it was felt that doctors did not have the appropriate knowledge about individuals' roles and the risks involved to be able to assess the position properly.
  • The 'may be fit for some work' option will be replaced with 'you may be fit for work taking into account the following advice'. This acknowledges that it is not the doctor but the employer, in consultation with their employee, who is best placed to make the decision as to whether they can accommodate any changes to facilitate a return to work.
  • The maximum duration of a Fit Note, issued in the first six months of a medical condition, will be reduced from six months to three in the hope that dialogue between employer and employee might effect an earlier return to work.
  • If an employer cannot facilitate a change or an adjustment, a revised Fit Note is not necessary. The existing Fit Note will be evidence that an individual has a health condition preventing him or her carrying out the current role. Statutory sick pay will be unaffected in these circumstances and will continue as normal.

For the time being, only GPs will be able to issue Fit Notes. However the Government has not ruled out extending the right to issue them to other health care practitioners in the future.

New right to request time off for study or training

On 6 April 2010 a new right will come into effect allowing employees the right to request time off work for study or training. Initially, this will apply to employers with more than 250 employees, but it will be extended to all employers, regardless of size, from 6 April 2011.

To be eligible to make such an application, the employee must have at least 26 weeks' service. The study leave or training must also be for the purpose of improving both their effectiveness at work and the performance of their employer's business (although it need not lead to a formal qualification).

Additional paternity leave

The new additional paternity leave rules will apply to parents of babies due on or after 3 April 2011 and to adoptive parents who are notified of having been matched with a child on or after that date. Eligible parents will be those with at least 26 weeks employment ending on the relevant week.

Additional paternity leave will give eligible employees (usually fathers) the right of up to 26 weeks' leave to care for a child if the child's mother or (in the case of adoptions) primary adopter returns to work without using their full entitlement to maternity or adoption leave. The length of the additional paternity leave will be limited to the number of weeks that remain outstanding from the mother's maternity leave when she returns to work. Some of the paternity leave may be paid leave if taken during the mother's maternity pay period or during the primary adoption pay period.

The leave must be for the purpose of caring for a child under the age of one year or (for an adopted child) in the first year after being placed for adoption. Mother and father cannot take maternity and paternity leave concurrently and the mother must have returned to work before the father can benefit from these regulations. The child must be over 20 weeks old or must have been with its adopted parents for 20 weeks.

If entitled to paid leave, the standard weekly rate is currently Ł124.88 a week or 90% of normal weekly earnings if lower.

Whistleblowing claims

As dealt with in our January Employment Bulletin, from 6 April 2010 Employment Tribunals will have powers to pass on information about whistleblowing claims to appropriate statutory regulators. Where a Tribunal identifies a claim as concerning whistleblowing (and where it has jurisdiction to hear the claim), it will send copies of the claim directly to the prescribed regulator. The regulator will then assess the information and, if appropriate, investigate the underlying allegation as part of their normal regulatory duties. Tribunals will only be able to pass on such information if the Claimant has consented to it doing so by ticking a newly added box on the ET1; this procedure is an 'opt in' rather than an 'opt out' measure.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.