The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) believe that 131 million working days are lost each year due to sickness absence in the UK. Absenteeism resulting from illness often takes a disproportionate toll on small firms because they employ fewer people and therefore feel the absences more keenly.
The Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud has reviewed how absenteeism affects companies and his findings show that we need to stop people falling out of work and into long-term sickness benefits. The longer someone is out of the workplace, the harder it is for them to move back into work – but often fast intervention can stop people moving down that road.
The Government are introducing tax relief for interventions, and the Health Assessment and Advisory Service will aim to help businesses to hold on to their staff, helping workers stay in work. Potentially this could cut the sickness benefit bill by up to £60 million per year.
The Government will consult on the details of the tax relief later this year ahead of introduction of the service in 2014.
The new service will provide occupational health advice to employees, employers and GPs on the support and interventions needed to help employees move from sickness absence back into the workplace.
How will this help my business?
Businesses will benefit from tax relief when they pay to help their employees return to the workplace after sickness.
- Employers will receive tax relief on expenditure up to £500 on health treatment, if recommended by the health and work assessment and advisory service
- This targeted tax relief could encourage employers to fund around 110,000 health-related interventions
- Without this tax relief payments would be liable to income tax and employer National Insurance contributions
- The new health and work assessment and advisory service will provide occupational health expertise to many small businesses for the first time
The new service will enable employer’s access to expert advice to help them manage sickness lasting longer than 4 weeks. Lack of advice or support is one of the main issues employers are facing in tackling sickness absence in the workplace.
How OfficeTeam can help
OfficeTeam have a range of products and services that can help look after your staff while at work from personal protective equipment and safety clothing to first aid boxes. For more information please read about out our FacilitiesSuppliesTeam or our WorkwearTeam by clicking the links.