Management Referrals

What Are Management Referrals?

Posted By Kerry Budworth on 2018-07-18 17:33

What Do You Need to Know About Management Referrals?

So what is a Management Referral?

A management referral is when a manager supervisor refers an employee to an Occupational Health services provider because of a possible health issue that is likely to have an ongoing effect on work attendance or performance. Employees do not have to be absent from work to be referred, they can also be referred whilst they are attending work if their work appears to be affected by the issue 

When to refer to an Occupational Health Provider 

There are several reasons why you could consider referring a member of staff to an Occupational Health service. They are:

  • An employee has been absent from work for over four weeks due to injury or illness
  • An employee has frequent absences from work due to illness or injury
  • You are concerned that some condition is affecting the ongoing ability of an employee to work

Firstly though, it is important to consider the reasons for the referral, and the information you need, before making the referral. The issues need to be discussed with the employee as on occasion, the issues can be resolved through that discussion. 

What does an Occupational Health Provider need from the employer?

Firstly and most importantly, an employer needs to provide a clear reason for the referral. The details should include:

  • Details of sickness absence
  • Indicate Frequency of absences
  • Any reason that employee has indicated for absences
  • Specify concerns about work capability, performance or conduct 

Let's break that down clearly, we need to understand the reason for the referral. The best way for us to do that is to have clear details of the sickness absence.

Understanding The Absences

In order for us to understand the absences, we need to know whether they are long-term or frequent short-term absences. We also need to understand the frequency of absences during the employee's time with you.

Understanding The Reasons

We also need to understand any reasons that the employee attributes to their sickness absence. You should supply copies of any self-certificates and fit notes.

Understanding Your Concerns

You should detail any concerns that you have about the employee's performance or work capability and how you see any health issues contributing to it.  

The Employee should be informed

The employee needs to be informed about the reasons for the referral and they need to agree to the assessment process.

Can you force an Employee to participate in a Mangement Referral Process?

You can not force an employee to participate, even if a condition of employment is that employees comply with your procedures. If an employee refuses to participate in an assessment of their fitness to work, you will have to proceed without an assessment or advice from an Occupational Health Provider.

What happens during a Management Referral Assessment?

During a Management Referral assessment, we assess the employee's functional ability. The impairments of function that we assess are as follows:

  • mobility
  • dexterity
  • vision
  • hearing
  • speech
  • continence
  • cognition: concentration, memory, learning and understanding awareness of physical danger

What will the Occupational Health Provider Consider during a Management Referral Assessment?

Durning the management referral assessment, what exactly will we be considering? In essence, we will considering the Impact of any health problem on the employee's ability to work. The questions we wish to answer and the terms of reference we use are as follows :

  • Is the employee currently fit for work?
  • Is the health condition caused by, or made worse by, work?
  • Is there a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010?
  • Can the employee's normal duties be completed safely?
  • If they can't, what adjustments are needed to help the employee work safely?
  • For how long would those adjustments or arrangements be needed?
  • Is the employee's condition likely to affect future attendance, performance or conduct at work?
  • What risk is there to the employee or others if the employee continues to work?
  • What is the usual outlook and timeframe for fitness to work?
  • Is a further assessment needed to review progress and fitness to resume work?

What will the Occupational Health Provider advise you on?

We will advise both you and the employee of the following:

  • Their functional ability 
  • Any reasonable adjustments to enable safe working
  • Trends for recovery 
  • Prognosis – likelihood and timescale for a return to work
  • The relevant legal obligations.

We provide Management Referral assessments across the United Kingdom as part of our occupational health assessments offering. If you need a fit for work medical, a safety critical medical or any other occupational health assessment call us now on 01455 234 600 or contact us online. 


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