By Daniel Hunter

A move to help the Sheffield area's smaller businesses tackle long-term sickness absence in the workplace has been welcomed by a health sector business specialist.

Scott Sanderson, who advises healthcare clients for Sheffield-based independent chartered accountants Hawsons, of Glossop Road, says that with only ten per cent of our area's smaller businesses having access to an occupational health scheme, a new independent advisory and assessment service to be set up by the Government to assist them with problems will be a massive boost.

The new service, which is expected to be up and running by next year is designed to help employers support their staff and prevent employees needlessly going on to long-term sickness benefits.

It will offer employers bespoke, independent advice for cases of sickness absence lasting more than four weeks and is expected to stop thousands of people falling out of work and onto long-term sickness benefit.

"The amount businesses will save in statutory sick pay, coupled with increased economic output, will represent a huge uplift for businesses at a time when funding levels are difficult," he said.

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