Reed in Partnership has responded to the Government’s consultation on reducing ill-health related job loss, called Health is everyone’s business.
As a provider of employment support services to disabled people and those with health conditions, we welcome the Government’s focus on encouraging early and supportive action by employers to prevent people falling out of the workforce when they have a health problem.
In our experience, when an individual moves into work who has an existing disability or health condition (or previous experience of episodes of ill-health that have caused them problems at work), the first few weeks and months are a critical time for their sustainment in that role. An employer with a supportive approach can play a large part in minimising the chances that poor health will lead to an employee leaving. For the employer, the benefits can be higher retention rates, reduced costs of sickness absence and improved employee engagement.
On the specific proposals, we welcome:
- The proposed right to request workplace modifications on health grounds. In principle we think that this could increase the extent to which individuals feel confident to discuss modifications with their employer where they have a health condition or ailment that does not necessarily come under the Equality Act definition of disability. However, it will be crucial to ensure that the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people is not diluted in its impact in any way. It will also be important to ensure that the right is not overly complex and supported by clear guidance and support for employers.
- A national, multi-year communications campaign outlining the support and information available, particularly targeted at SMEs and the self-employed. We think that this should take a one-stop shop approach by pulling the many resources available together in one place, provide more accessible guidance and case studies on particular health conditions and improve promotion of Access to Work.
- Measures to increase access to occupational health services for SMEs and employers more generally. We have not commented in detail on these proposals but welcome the Government’s intention to increase the number of smaller organisations able to access occupational health support, which is often a challenge.
You can download our response below.
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