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February 21, 2014

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Health and work service “will save companies £70m a year”



The Government’s new Health and Work Service (HWS) will save companies up to £70m a year, according to ministers.
The service, which will cover England, Wales and Scotland, will offer occupational health advice and support to help people with health conditions stay in, or return to, work.
It will be funded through the abolition of the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which provides compensation to employers for statutory sick pay.
Minister for Disabled People, Mike Penning, said that in return for employers losing the PTS compensation scheme, they would instead have access to an occupational health scheme, which employers should regard as “a good investment”.
The new service, which is intended to complement existing occupational health provision, is not compulsory. Workers will be allowed to refuse to be assessed or to follow any course of action or treatment recommended.
The British Safety Council has welcomed the launch of the HWS, hailing it as “a valuable contribution in helping to address the issues preventing employees returning to work”. 
Alex Botha, chief executive of the British Safety Council, said: “The benefits to the business of managing occupational health and wellbeing effectively can be shown in various ways including a reduction in sickness absence per employee, reducing lost production time, savings in insurance premiums, lower labour turnover, reduced liability and reduced legal costs.”
However, the Trades Union Congress (TUC), although in support of schemes to help ill people get back to work said care should be taken over the implementation of the service.
TUC’s head of health and safety, Hugh Robertson, said: “The focus of this service should be about getting [workers] better as opposed to just back to work and the two are not necessarily the same.”
Labour’s shadow work and pensions minister, Kate Green, said: “Any help to cut number of days lost to sickness is welcome, but with the government’s Work Programme helping just 5% of people on sickness and disability benefits into jobs, it is clear much more needs to be done to help people get back to work.”
The British Safety Council published The business case of OSH interventions in 2013, which sets out a guide to assist businesses in saving costs and reducing sickness absence.

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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