The Government has launched a consultation on its aims to reduce the number of job losses related to ill health and encourage larger and smaller businesses to invest more resources into supporting their workforce’s wellbeing.
As the consultation document states, there is a gap between the employment of disabled people compared with those who are non-disabled, despite record rates of employment. Therefore, significant intervention is required to transform the lives of disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.
The research goes on to argue that employers should do more to support their employees who are managing health conditions, or who are experiencing a period of sickness absence. As evidence shows that early and sustained support by an employer is important in reducing ill health-related job losses.
However, the Government recognises that smaller employers, in particular, face a range of challenges, even when they want to support their employees. These include a lack of time, expertise or capital.
Therefore, amongst other things, the consultation is looking at how it can make changes to the legal framework to encourage employers to support employees with health issues affecting work, and to intervene early during a period of sickness absence.
The Consultation is also looking at ways to reform Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so that it is better enforced, more flexible, covers the lowest-paid employees, and improves occupational health (OH) provision. This can be done by considering ways of reducing the costs, increasing market capacity and improving the value and quality of services, especially for small employers and the self-employed.
Finally, the Government is keen to have stakeholders’ views on how to improve employers’ access to good advice and support, so that all employers can understand and act on their responsibilities to their employees.
The consultation closes on 7 October 2019.