The end of sick notes?Sickness among employees in the workplace may escalate if plans to replace the traditional ‘sick note’ with a well note’ are given the go-ahead, it has been suggested.

Thompsons Solicitors claims that the proposals from the Department for Work and Pensions could see employees returning to work while not in a fit state, following a period of absence over an illness or injury.

Furthermore, the move would fail to reduce the cost of employee absenteeism through sickness or the compensation payments given to staff who assert that they have been made ill or injured by the practices of their employers.

Instead, businesses should alter afflicted staff’s duties or work stations, or risk them having to take additional time off work, the group claims.

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons, said: “Under the proposals employers might take someone back before they were ready, and even coerce them to do so and then dismiss them when they cannot cope.”

His comments come after the law firm Eversheds revealed 72 per cent of employers have reported swine flu absenteeism.