The government has launched a public consultation on a range of measures to reduce ill health-related job losses.
- Introducing a new right to request workplace modifications for all employees suffering from health conditions - not just those who are deemed to be disabled where the duty to make reasonable adjustments applies.
- Introducing a sick pay rebate for SME's to help them support individuals with disabilities or long-term conditions return to work.
- Pro-rating SSP to ensure that employees can agree a phased return to work without being financially worse off.
- Extending SSP to low earners (currently, it's only paid to those who earn more than £118 per week which excludes around two million workers). To avoid low earners receiving SSP at a higher rate than their actual wages, it will be set at 80% of their average weekly earnings.
- Strengthening statutory guidance to support employers to take 'early, sustained and proportionate steps' to support a sick employee to return to work, before that employee can be fairly dismissed on the grounds of ill health.
- Improving access to OH providers - by co funding or introducing vouchers for smaller employers.
The consultation closes on 7 October 2019.
About 100,000 people every year fall out of work completely after a sickness absence, according to the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health and Social Care, which are jointly putting forward the proposals for consultation. Nearly half (44%) of those who are off work because of illness for a year do not return to the workplace.