Spotlight on Health
Health is increasingly coming under the spotlight at national level. From high profile campaigns regarding mental health to the government’s latest drive to encourage more women to take up cervical smear tests, health concerns are definitely high on the agenda.
When it comes to health and your employees here are a few handy hints:
- Generally speaking, employees should try to arrange GP and dental appointments outside working hours. However, it’s important to be realistic – for a variety of reasons this will not always be possible (or appropriate in some cases). Your approach on these occasions will depend on what’s in your contracts of employment, past practice and whether the duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee arises.
- If you employ night workers, bear in mind that special rules apply to their treatment to ensure their health is not put at risk. There are extra limits on how long a night worker can work in most cases and you will need to offer anyone who is going to be a night worker a free health assessment before they start doing night work and again periodically after they have started. The health assessment usually takes the initial form of a medical questionnaire.
- Return to work interviews are a useful tool when it comes to managing sickness absence. They can help you to identify whether there are any on-going or underlying medical issues or whether there are patterns of absences. This information will enable you to identify what steps, if any, you need to take in relation to a particular employee.
If you are considering ways you can support employees in the workplace when it comes to looking after their health, you might want to think about:
- Encouraging employees who do a sedentary role to move around more often during the working day (if this is appropriate in your workplace). Even if it is just a short walk to the printer or encouraging employees to take the stairs rather than the lift, little steps can support employees in being more active
- Promoting healthy eating in the workplace. There are many ways you can do this, whether through education campaigns, making it easier for people to eat healthy food at work by ensuring where possible that any kitchen or dining areas have the right equipment and crockery available or even providing free fruit once a week or on a regular basis.
- Making your workplace culture one where employees are encouraged to enjoy their lunchbreak and get some fresh air rather than sitting and eating their lunch at their workstation.
If you have any employment law issues you would like advice on, please don’t hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help.