Health is everyone's business

Proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss

With an estimated cost to the UK economy of £77.5 billion per annum in lost productivity and an annual bill of £554 per employee most employers would welcome ways in which to reduce the massive overheads attributed to sickness absence.

The employment team at Wrigleys is asking employers to feed into a government consultation designed to find ways to tackle the high rate of long-term sickness absence in the UK workforce. A link to the government consultation paper is here and you can have your say here.

The consultation paper explores the scope for employers to do more to support employees to stay in, and return to, work and what the government can do to increase support for employers.

The paper covers three main areas:

Proposed changes to help people with health conditions remain in work and reducing the barriers people face to return to work

Proposed changes to relevant legal frameworks.

This considers:

  • a right to request workplace modifications on health grounds not covered by the duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010
  • encouraging employers to take steps to support a sick employee to return to work before they can be fairly dismissed on ill health grounds
  • reform of statutory sick pay (SSP) to better capture flexible working and those who fall below the current Lower Earnings Limit
  • a day one written statement of basic working conditions for employees and workers, including details of eligibility for sick leave and pay
  • support for smaller employers via a proposed rebate of SSP

Proposals to improve access to high quality cost-effective occupational health services.

This considers:

  • improving smaller employers' access to OH services by reducing costs and increasing the number of doctors and nurses working in OH
  • building on current quality standards and quality marks to raise the overall quality of OH service provision.

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