By Daniel Hunter
Businesses will benefit from tax relief when they pay to help their employees return to the workplace after sickness, it was announced in the Budget last week.
Employers will receive tax relief on expenditure up to £500 covering support, such as specialist equipment or treatment, recommended by a new health and work assessment and advisory service.
This targeted tax relief will encourage employers to fund around 110,000 health-related interventions. Without this tax relief the payments would be liable to income tax and employer National Insurance contributions.
The new health and work assessment and advisory service will provide occupational health expertise to many small businesses for the first time.
The Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: "Over 130 million working days are lost to sickness absence and we need to stop people falling out of work and onto long-term sickness benefits."
"The longer someone is out of the workplace, the harder it is for them to move back into work, but often fast intervention can stop people moving down that road."
"The introduction of tax relief for interventions and the heath assessment and advisory service will help British business to hold on to their staff, help workers stay in work and cut the sickness benefit bill by up to £60million per year."
The Government will consult on the details of the tax relief later this year ahead of introduction with the service in 2014.
Funding for the new health and work assessment and advisory will be recycled from the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) which will end in April 2014.
The new service was announced in the Government response to the independent review of sickness absence and will provide occupational health advice to employees, employers and GPs on the support and interventions needed to help employees move from sickness absence back into the workplace.
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