The Government has announced new proposals that would see around two million low-paid workers receive statutory sick pay for the first time.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have launched a consultation which will help transform how employers support staff with health conditions.
Currently, employees must earn an average of at least £118 per week, but the government is looking at whether to extend eligibility to those earning below this threshold and provide more support for those returning to work after sick leave.
New figures revealed that each year more than 100,000 people leave their job following a period of sickness absence which lasts at least four weeks, with 44 per cent of those who had been off sick for a year leaving employment altogether.
The new proposals are set to offer increased support to those who are on a freelance or short-term contract, provided they met certain criteria. It has been estimated that over 1.1 million of them currently receiving sick pay.
As part of the consultation, you are being asked for your views on how to remove the barriers in the current system. The Government will consider whether changes to legal guidance will encourage employers to intervene early during a period of sickness absence.
It will also look at how to improve the capacity, value and quality of occupational health services and consider how to reduce the high costs of these services, particularly for smaller employers.
The consultation is open until 7 October 2019. To take part, go to https://getinvolved.dwp.gov.uk/work-and-health/consultation/
If you are an employer and want to understand more about employee rights, please get in touch with our expert team. Contact Hethertons employment team on 01904 528200.