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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Particular benefits: recommended medical treatment to help an employee return to work - definition of recommended medical treatment

Section 320C ITEPA 2003

The exemption for employer expenditure to help an employee return to work after a period of absence due to injury or ill-health applies only to the cost of recommended medical treatment and not to related costs such as transportation to and from treatment.

Medical treatment

“Medical treatment” means all procedures for diagnosing, or treating any physical or mental illness, infirmity or defect.

Recommendations for medical treatment can be provided by either:

  • “Fit for Work”, or, alternatively,
  • an employer-arranged occupational health service

for the purposes of helping an employee return to work after a period of absence due to injury or ill-health.

Fit for Work is a government service which provides an occupational health assessment and general health and work advice to employees, employers and general practitioners to help individuals stay in or return to work.

The exemption is targeted at supporting employees to return to work once they have reached, or are expected to reach, four weeks sickness absence. In doing so, the exemption also covers recommended medical treatment provided after the employee has returned to work where that treatment is linked to the return to work.

The exemption applies whether the employer arranges and pays for the treatment, pays for the treatment that the employee has arranged, or reimburses the employee directly.

Medical treatment for mixed purposes

If the treatment provided includes treatment that is not eligible for the exemption then, in determining the cost of the recommended medical treatment, you may accept a reasonable apportionment of the costs between the qualifying and non-qualifying treatment.