You might have heard of medical reports, and you might be wondering what they are. Medical reports are the most detailed reports on an employee’s health available to employers. If you have an employee on long-term sick leave, medical reports can be a good way of assessing an employee’s potential return-to-work date.
When to ask for a medical report
A medical report contains sensitive and personal information about an employee, so you should have a good reason to request one.
You can get a report from a number of physicians, either the employee’s own personal physician, one retained by you (the employer) or an independent physician.
How to get a medical report
Legally, an employee does not have to consent to a medical report being shown to you. However, if it forms a part of their employment contract, they are obliged.
The Medical Reports Act, 1988 applies to reports compiled by the employee’s personal physician (but doesn’t normally apply to those from occupational physicians). The act means you have to:
• inform the employee of their rights under the act;
• accept that the employee might refuse your request;
• accept that the employee might not let you see the report, even after it’s compiled;
• give the employee the chance to see the report themselves;
• accept the employee may request to amend anything inaccurate or misleading on the report (this will only go ahead if the physician agrees with their amendments).
To apply for a medical report, you firstly need to get written consent from the employee and then send a copy of this, along with your request, to the physician who will write the report.
You should tell the physician any relevant information, such as what the employee’s job involves, and let them know if the employee wants to see the report before they send it to you.
What to do with a medical report
Once you’ve got the report, you can use it as a basis for negotiating a possible return-to-work date with the employee. The physician might recommend some changes to the workplace or working day of the employee to make their transition back to work easier. Because the report contains sensitive information, it’s also important that you comply with data protection legislation.
Need HR advice?
Get in touch with us on: 020 7870 1090 to see how a Deminos account can improve your employee management today.