Improving employees working conditions in commercial properties by offering help and advice could help reduce the number of people who take sick leave every year. This in turn could save the economy billions, according to the Government’s Sickness Absence Review.
Every year, approximately 11 million people are absent from work at commercial properties due to sickness, which are costing employers roughly £9 billion. Whilst the majority of people return to work, around 300,000 people are unable to carry on working due to health related problems and are signed off work by their doctors. The 2.73 per cent of sick leavers, who cannot return to work, cost UK taxpayers around £13 billion a year through state benefits, and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
People who have been off work for a while can often easily get into a routine of not having to work, and then find it harder and harder to return to their jobs. So what can be done to ensure that people are not absent from work for long periods of time, who are well enough to return?
The government suggested that an independent service is to be introduced, to assess those who are signed off work for a long period of time. This service will check whether people still actually need to be absent from work or if they can return to their commercial properties. Furthermore, they will be offered help and assistance to get back into work.
Speaking of the new system, Lord Freud, The welfare minister, expressed: “We are embarking on the biggest structural reform of the welfare system that it’s seen since it was invented.”
“And what we’re doing we’re rebuilding the benefit system by introducing the universal credit so people will always be incentivised to work. We’ve created the work programme so we have tailored support for people and now we’re looking at these recommendations which say that if we get some early intervention for people when they first have health problems then we can really help people not fall out of the market in the first place,” Lord Freud added.
If the changes are implemented by the Government, the Sickness Absence Review believes that employers could save £400 million per year, whilst UK taxpayers will save £300 million a year. Overall, it could boost the economy by £1 billion per year.
The new system also wants to relieve tax for employers who spend their money to help people with medical and rehabilitation treatments. This will in turn, help employers to offer the help and advice that employees need to return to work, therefore helping the economy as a whole.
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