What is work-related ill health?

Work-related ill health is any health condition caused, or made worse by, your job. This can include sudden injuries, such as a slip or trip, or 'slow' injuries, such as the development of repetitive strain injury (RSI) or the ill health effects of stress at work.

Work-related ill health includes:

  • physical injuries, ranging from sudden and obvious injury to longer-terms strains and stresses on the body, such as backache, RSI, asthma, certain cancers, hearing loss and eye-strain; and
  • mental ill health, such as stress, depression or anxiety. Mental ill health can be brought on by overwork, unacceptable pressures, bullying and intimidation, harassment, or from hazardous exposure to certain chemicals, e.g. solvents or sprays.

If you suspect that your ill health may be linked to your job, be sure to raise your fears with your GP.

Your GP can issue you with a fit note, formally known as a Statement of Fitness for Work. After your doctor has assessed you for your fitness for work, they will either use the fit note to advise your employer that you are not fit for work or that you may be fit for work as long as the employer follows the advice written on the fit note. The advice can include recommendations for a phased return to work, altered hours, amended duties or workplace adaptations. 

The TUC website has more information on the new fit note (PDF, 236KB).

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.