How to tackle the UK's long-term sickness rates

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Peninsula Team, Peninsula Team

(Last updated )

Greater childcare provision is the key to reducing economic inactivity, employers have told the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) when it surveyed them to ask what steps the next government should take to reduce long-term sickness rates in the UK.

The most chosen option of those presented was for the Government to expand the eligibility for the 30-hour childcare entitlement to parents or carers in employment, training or education (55%).

This suggestion was closely followed by tackling NHS waiting lists and supporting those on long-term sick back into work (54%), providing targeted occupational health support to give people on long-term sick access to specialist help to help them get back into work (53%) and promoting flexible working initiatives to enhance their work-life balance (52%).

Other options popular with employers were better education and awareness around the reasonable adjustments process and how this is practically implemented (43%) and making all employee assistance programmes (EAPs) an entirely tax-free benefit (36%).

REC Deputy Chief Executive, Kate Shoesmith, said: “It is good for companies’ productivity, and thereby the economy, if we unlock a route to get more people into some of the 1.7 million vacant job postings across the UK. But the diverse solutions given by employers to tackle economic inactivity in our survey suggests solving it is not straightforward or a quick fix for the next Government.”

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