The Chancellor of the Exchequer indicated that he will offer tax incentives to companies who help ill or injured employees get back to work.
He commented that organisations who “look after” their employees should have access to tax relief through system. This has been welcomed by many organisations who have long campaigned that disincentiving return to work interventions via the tax system is unfair and economically unsound. Up until now both the employer and employee ‘take a hit’ on National Insurance or Income Tax if the business pays for treatment for non-work related illness or injury.
There are more than 130 million working days lost each year as a result of sickness absence and recommendations of Dame Carol Black and David Frost on how to tackle this issue have clearly been taken into consideration. Earlier on in the year, the Government announced that it would be setting up a state-funded service that occupational health professionals are able to provide employers with advice on assisting sick employees return to work.
In a budget that Mr. Osborne claimed to have been developed to help people who “want to get on”, the Government will introduce a targeted tax relief scheme of up to £500 paid by employers on health-related interventions of workers who have fallen ill or become injured through non-work related activity.
It is understood that the Chancellor plans to introduce ‘targeted’ tax relief of up to £500 paid by employers for the treatment of workers who have fallen ill or become injured through non-work related activity. The move will be funded, it is hoped, through the scrapping of the Percentage Threshold Scheme and will be managed through the creation of a health and work assessment and advisory service for those at danger of long-term sickness absence.
Consultation on how this will be implemented will be launched later in the year.
The government has obviously realised that employers have a crucial role in assisting employees to return to work and that they require additional support to help employees achieve this. It is hoped that this change will encourage employers to work in partnership with employees and healthcare providers and for them to be an integral part in managing sickness absence.