In February the government called for a major
review of the sickness absence system to help combat the 140 million days lost
to sickness absence every year. The review has been published.
It presents an important analysis of the:
- Sickness absence system
- Impact of sickness absence on employers, the
state and individuals
- Factors that cause and prolong sickness
The review also provides a critique of the
current system and the roles that healthcare professionals, employers and
government services play. This is an important contribution to our
understanding of the sickness absence system and the reviewers offer
challenging and new insights into this complex problem as well as a number of recommendations.
Each year around 11 million employees take sick
leave and while most people return to work around 300,000 people go on to claim
health-related benefits. This is a huge loss in human potential.
Evidence strongly suggests that work is good for
health and in many cases can aide recovery – but the independent review has
found that too often the sickness absence system pushes people away from work
and provides little support for them to return to work quickly.
Co-author Carol Black says, "Sickness absence from work can be
unavoidable, but when unduly prolonged it is wasteful and damaging. We believe
we have presented an urgent and compelling case to change the current system so
that it unashamedly promotes work for those that can. If implemented these
recommendations will ensure many more people with health conditions are able to
enjoy the benefit of work; far fewer will needlessly lose work and fall into
long-term benefit dependency."
Income protection insurance news: 24 November 2011