As an HR manager in the UK, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the tools and processes available to support employees who may be experiencing health issues that impact their ability to work. One such tool is the Capability for Work Questionnaire (CWQ), which is designed to assess an individual’s capacity to perform their job duties in light of their health condition. In this article, we will explore what the CWQ is, how it works, and its benefits for both employees and employers.

Understanding the Capability for Work Questionnaire

What is the CWQ?

The Capability for Work Questionnaire is a standardised assessment tool used by occupational health professionals to evaluate an employee’s ability to carry out their work-related tasks when they have a health condition or disability. The questionnaire consists of a series of questions that cover various aspects of an individual’s health and how it may affect their work performance. The CWQ is typically completed by the employee, either independently or with the guidance of an occupational health professional.

The Purpose of the CWQ

The primary purpose of the Capability for Work Questionnaire is to gather information about an employee’s health and its impact on their work, to enable informed decision-making regarding their employment. The CWQ helps to:

  • Identify the specific health issues affecting an employee’s work performance
  • Assess the employee’s functional capacity in relation to their job demands
  • Determine the need for reasonable adjustments or accommodations in the workplace
  • Facilitate discussions between the employee, their manager, and occupational health professionals
  • Support the development of a return-to-work plan for employees on sick leave

The Structure of the CWQ

Sections of the Questionnaire

The Capability for Work Questionnaire typically consists of several sections that cover different aspects of an individual’s health and work. These may include:

  • Personal details and employment information
  • Health condition(s) and symptoms
  • Impact of health on daily activities and work tasks
  • Current treatment and medication
  • Work environment and adjustments
  • Employee’s perspective on their ability to work

The specific questions and format of the CWQ may vary depending on the provider, but the overall aim is to gather comprehensive information about the employee’s health and its effect on their work.

Scoring and Interpretation

The responses to the Capability for Work Questionnaire are typically scored and interpreted by a qualified occupational health professional. The scoring system may vary depending on the specific version of the CWQ being used, but generally, higher scores indicate a greater impact of the health condition on the employee’s ability to work.

The occupational health professional will review the completed questionnaire, along with any additional medical evidence or information provided by the employee or their healthcare provider. They will then prepare a report summarising their findings and recommendations, which will be shared with the employer and employee, subject to appropriate consent and confidentiality procedures.

Benefits of Using the CWQ

For Employees

The Capability for Work Questionnaire offers several benefits for employees, including:

  • Providing a structured way to communicate their health concerns and work limitations
  • Facilitating access to appropriate support and accommodations in the workplace
  • Enabling a collaborative approach to managing their health and work
  • Supporting a safe and sustainable return to work after a period of absence

For Employers

Employers can also benefit from using the CWQ, as it helps to:

  • Ensure compliance with legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010, by making reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities
  • Reduce sickness absence and associated costs by supporting employees to remain in or return to work
  • Promote a proactive approach to employee health and wellbeing
  • Foster open communication and trust between employees and managers
  • Inform evidence-based decision-making regarding an employee’s fitness for work

Implementing the CWQ in Your Organisation

As an HR manager, if you are considering implementing the Capability for Work Questionnaire in your organisation, there are several steps you can take:

  1. Engage with an occupational health provider, such as London City Healthcare, to discuss your requirements and the most appropriate version of the CWQ for your needs.
  2. Develop a clear policy and procedure for using the CWQ, including when it will be used, who will administer it, and how the results will be handled.
  3. Provide training for managers and employees on the purpose and process of the CWQ, to ensure a consistent and fair approach.
  4. Ensure that appropriate consent and confidentiality procedures are in place, in line with data protection regulations.
  5. Use the results of the CWQ to inform discussions and decision-making regarding reasonable adjustments, return-to-work plans, and ongoing support for employees with health conditions.


The Capability for Work Questionnaire is a valuable tool for HR managers in the UK, providing a structured approach to assessing an employee’s ability to work when they have a health condition or disability. By using the CWQ, employers can ensure compliance with legal obligations, support employee health and wellbeing, and promote a proactive approach to absence management.

Partnering with an experienced occupational health provider, such as London City Healthcare, can help you to effectively implement the CWQ in your organisation and access expert guidance and support. By prioritising employee health and taking a collaborative approach to managing fitness for work, you can create a more supportive and productive workplace for all.

This article has been written by London City Healthcare, a leading occupational health provider in the UK. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to supporting HR managers and organisations in managing employee health and wellbeing. We offer a range of services, including occupational health assessments, and absence management support. For more information on how we can assist you, please contact us directly on 0207 236 3334.

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr Amun Kalia

Dr. Kalia helps to run the Occupational Medicine provision for London City healthcare and is a company doctor for one of the largest multinational companies based in the UK.

Outstanding Occupational Health Services

Get in Touch Today

Leave A Comment