Low Awareness of Absenteeism Changes
Many employers are not aware of the introduction of a new Government initiative to tackle absenteeism according to Beckett Financial Services.
The ‘Fit For Work’ service is being phased in during 2015 and will see GPs refer patients who are signed off work for longer than four weeks for an occupational health assessment, following which patients will be given a return-to-work plan.
“Our discussions with employers show that most of them aren’t aware of the new service,” says Nicola Prince, Director of Employee Benefits at Beckett. “The same applies to other advisers who have contacted us seeking clarification.”
Prince believes HR Directors and managers should start to re-evaluate their Employee Wellness and Absence Management programmes. “Employers should take a hard look at their absenteeism procedures in the lead up to the launch of the service,” says Prince. “They need to be confident their strategies are robust and compliant before the first return-to-work plan lands on their desk!”
The government will introduce a P11D tax exemption of up to £500 a year per employee for expenditure on medical treatments. But Prince is urging employers to think through the implications of the service: “Funding the treatments will be voluntary so employers need to consider how they will respond to employees’ requests, and the extent of cover offered under the company’s income protection, private medical or cash plan arrangements.”