It is estimated that around 12.7 million working-age people in the UK have a long-term health condition including around 7.6 million disabled people. In a typical year, around 1.4 million working-age people have at least one sickness absence lasting four weeks or longer, while most people successfully return to work after a period of long-term sickness absence, disabled people are at much greater risk of falling out of work.
For an individual it is generally considered that being in employment can have a positive effect on mental and physical health and well being. For employers the benefits of retaining an experienced employee are usually greater than recruiting and training new staff
The Government recently launched a consultation on proposals to reduce ill health related job loss.
Some of the proposals include:
- Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. The consultation proposes extending this to include a right to request workplace modifications on health grounds. The consultation asks whether this should be introduced and if so under what circumstances.
- Strengthening statutory guidance to encourage employers to take early, sustained and proportionate steps to support a sick employee to return to work.
- Reforming the current Statutory Sick Pay scheme including extending eligibility for the scheme and enabling an employee returning from a period of sickness absence to have a flexible, phased return to work.
- Looking at options for reducing the cost of obtaining occupational health support for small and medium sized enterprises and increasing availability.
- Improving the provision of advice and information to support management of health in the workplace
The consultation runs until 7th October. Full details consultation can be found on the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/health-is-everyones-business-proposals-to-reduce-ill-health-related-job-loss#utm_source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=digest-5-sep-19&utm_term=everyones-business&utm_content=ill-health-consultation
Our HR Support service, led by Claire Cox, can help you plan ahead, maintain legal compliance and work through your HR challenges. Please contact Claire using email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to arrange an HR compliance audit.