Wellbeing covers many topics covering both the provision of a safe working environment as required by Health and Safety legislation to an individual’s health issues and things to prevent them having ill health due to the working environment.

The BDA produce guidance for dietitians on the different aspects of wellbeing.

Short Cuts to items on this page


Sickness in the workplace is dealt with as a performance or Capability issue so for information on sickness go to Capability section.

The New Fit for Work Service – England, Wales & Scotland

The Fit for Work service is a government service that comes into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in May 2015.

How this will work

Anyone can be referred to the service if they live in England Wales or Scotland, are in paid employment, are off sick and are likely to return to work.

The service will not be available to the self-employed.

You can also only be referred once in a 12 month period.

Most people can be referred though their GP after they have been signed off work for 4 weeks. This will normally happen as part of a normal visit. In some cases a person will not be referred. Examples will be if the person is already ready to return to work, or if it is clear that there is an ongoing serious issue which will clearly mean that the person is going to be off work for some considerable time.

In addition, after four weeks, an employer can make a referral if the GP has not done so.

Individuals cannot self-refer, nor can hospital consultants.

Any referral is voluntary and the employee must give consent. There is no requirement on them to have a referral, however in many cases it may help them return to work earlier.

The TUC have produced a TUC Guide for Trade Union Representatives on the service which can be found on the TUC website (click HERE)

More information on the service can be found at Fit for Work or Fit for Work Scotland.

There is specific guidance for employees on the assessment at Fit for Work Assessment.


Stress is a big issue for dietitians and hopefully they will address it before they find themselves off sick when it becomes an issue dealt with under the local Sickness Management Policy (see Capability Section for advice).

If a dietitian feels that they are being affected by stress there is a guide on the triggers of stress see link below.

  • BDA Guidance on Triggers to Stress   (Member only)

To get the employer to address whatever is causing the stress the dietitian needs to submit this issue in writing to the employer and should contact the local BDA Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union Office for advice and support.

NHS Employers state that work-related stress is on the rise. There are moral, financial and quality reasons for minimising stress in the workplace.

The NHS Employers have released guidance the aim of which is to help managers throughout the NHS reduce stress in the workplace and better support staff who experience it.


If a dietitian considers that their workload is excessive and possibly the cause of stress or sickness in the first instance they should evidence the fact that the workload is excessive.  This is not by comparing their workload to a colleague, but by showing that the dietitian’s workload is excessive in relation to the contracted hours that they are employed.  Use the BDA Caseload Management Toolkit to evaluate the workload.

Then the dietitian needs to submit formally in writing (Letter not email) the issue along with the supporting evaluation evidence to the employer.  The dietitian should contact the BDA Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union Office for advice and support.

To address the workload issue may require submitting a grievance.

Dignity at Work

The British Dietetic Association fully supports the rights of everyone to be treated with dignity and respect at work.  This includes dietitians, managers, staff, peers, students and non-dietetic staff.

Dignity at Work is also referred to as Bullying and Harassment.

The Employer should have a policy on Dignity at Work or a Bullying and Harassment Policy stating that inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable and how the policy will enable dietitians to get the Employer to address the problem in a fair and transparent way.

The BDA had produced two guidance documents for dietitians explaining their rights and how to address issues of Bullying and Harassment.

To address issues of Dignity at Work the dietitian will have to raise the matter with the employer possibly by way of a grievance (see grievance section).  The dietitian should contact the local BDA Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union Office for support.

Lone Working

Lone working does not just relate to dietitians who go out into the community and into people’s homes it covers any aspect of working alone even in a hospital in the evening or at weekends. The employer has a duty towards lone workers under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work (MHSW) Regulations 1999.

The BDA has produced guidance for dietitians on Working Alone in Safety.

If a dietitian has an issue or concern that relates to Lone Working they should raise it with their employer so the employer can rectify the problem.  This may require submitting the issue via the grievance procedure.  The dietitian can get advice and support from the local BDA Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union Office.

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave is a regular issue that dietitians will find they need advice on as will Managers and the dietitian’s partners.  Dietitians and their Partners have rights during this period.

The BDA has produced guidance on Maternity Leave and Your Employment Rights to guide dietitians through the process. 

An Employer may have their own maternity leave policy, which could be more generous than the statutory scheme or the NHS agenda for change agreement.  The dietitian should ask their employer for the details of their maternity entitlements.  The dietitian can get advice and support from the local Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union office.

IVF Treatment

In relation to Maternity rights the dietitian has protection from the point they become pregnant although they may not find out they are pregnant immediately or be required to inform their employer of the pregnancy immediately it is known.

However having IVF treatment to become pregnant means that the employer could become aware that the dietitian is trying to get pregnant and therefore the dietitian is protected from unfair treatment because protection starts at the point the egg is implanted.

The BDA has produced Guidance on IVF and the dietitian can get advice and support from the local BDA Trade Union Representative or the Trade Union Office.

Shared Parental Leave

Shared Parental Leave is a legal entitlement for eligible parents of babies due, or children placed for adoption, on or after 5 April 2015.  It provides both parents with the opportunity to consider the best arrangement to care for their child during the child’s first year.  ACAS along with the TUC have produced guidance for both employers and employees on shared parental leave.

Flexible Working

Flexible working is the term used to describe a wide range of working styles and employment practices and to describe all kinds of employment patterns that differ from the traditional Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm full time job with a permanent contract.  I t can include variation of working hours, length and variation of leave, a change of location such as home working and change od contract type for example temporary / fixed term /ad hoc.

Making a Flexible Working Request

Every employee has the statutory right to ask to work flexibly after they have been employed by their current employer for 26 weeks.  They only have a right to request that their contractual working pattern is altered to allow them to work flexibly, they do not have a right to any alteration to work flexibly.

The request no longer has to be for specifically for child care or caring needs it can be for any reason (work life balance for example).

An employee can only make a statutory request once in any 12 month period.  A statutory request is a formal written “statutory request”.  An employee can make several informal requests.

All an employer has to do is:

1.  Discuss the request with the employee.

2.  Consider the request.

3.  Make a decision and inform the employee as soon as possible in writing.

     If the request is accepted the employer should discuss with the employee how the
     changes might best be implemented.

4.  If the request is rejected it might be for one of the following reasons set out in

  • The burden of additional costs
  • An inability to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • An inability to recruit additional staff
  • A detrimental impact on quality
  • A detrimental impact on performance
  • Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand
  • Insufficient work for the periods the employee proposes to work
  • A planned structural change to your business.

5.  If the employer rejects the request they should allow the employee to appeal the

The Law requires that all requests, including and appeals, must be considered and decided on within a period of three months from first receipt, unless the employer agrees to extend this period with the employee.

ACAS has produced a Code of Practice that is intended to help employers deal with written requests made by employees to change their working hours or place of work under the statutory right in the Employment Rights Act 1996 to request flexible working.

NHS Guidance for Managers on Wellbeing

NHS Employers issue guidance to Managers on wellbeing:

Vital signs Eight elements of workplace wellbeing (Members Only)

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