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Guidance on legal issues

There is no law that requires employers to rehabilitate their employees who are off work sick. However you should be aware of these legal requirements, which may apply.

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

Disabled employees are protected by the Disability Discrimination Act. The DDA requires you to make reasonable adjustments to disabled employees’ working arrangements or conditions to make sure they are not treated less favourably than other employees. Employees whose injury or poor health persists may be eligible for DDA protection.

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act (HSWA) 1974

You also have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act to protect employees, after they return to work, if they have become more vulnerable to risk because of illness, injury or disability.

Employment Legislation

If you consider taking action to discipline or dismiss employees for ill health reasons, remember that you have responsibilities under the:

Data Protection Act 1998

The sickness absence data you keep and process has to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. If an absence record contains specific medical information relating to an employee this is deemed sensitive data and you will have to satisfy the statutory conditions for processing such data.

Updated 2012-12-28