We do a lot of work around health at the CBI. Since the pandemic, so many businesses have stepped up and focused on the health and wellbeing of their employees – and they’re desperate to learn and share best practice. But offering this support doesn’t just benefit business.
The NHS is under significant strain, waiting lists are too long, yet greater employer interventions could reduce the disease burden of those aged 20-64 by up to 20%. This could in turn add upwards of £60bn to an economy desperate for growth.
Three conditions have an overwhelming impact on workplace health: musculoskeletal conditions, mental health and ergonomics. Collectively they’re responsible for more than half of all the lost economic potential due to poor health in Europe.
But the government’s health policy doesn’t fully reflect this or incentivise the much-needed investments employers will increasingly be expected to take proactively.
It’s why we’re asking government to expand the scope of health support firms can provide to employees as a non-taxable benefit in kind.
We’ve also offered to support government in wider consultation on exactly what could be in scope for exemption, whether that’s Employee Assistance Programmes or ergonomic assessments for all staff. And we’ll actively help with a Health & Work Taskforce and a national campaign to raise awareness of any changes to maximise uptake too.
This will help smaller firms who want to do more on employee health and wellbeing but can’t afford to; and it will encourage even more firms of all shapes and sizes to do the right thing.
Because it’s measures like these that can help reduce sickness absence by up to 30% a year, boost productivity – and ease pressures on the NHS in the process.
Update: As the CBI called for, the Budget included extra support to help tackle the most common long-term health challenges – such as mental health and musculoskeletal conditions – that force people out of the workforce.