Access to occupational health helpful in managing sick leave

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Providing access to occupational health is seen by employers as one of the most useful tools at their disposal for managing sickness absence, according to a poll by consultancy Jelf Employee Benefits.

Some 31% of employers surveyed rated OH as the most useful benefit in managing sickness absence, a rating that puts it equal first with healthcare policies.

By comparison, fewer than 5% of employers surveyed believed re-habilitation services were the most important benefit in this context.

Employee assistance programmes were rated top by 12%, followed by income protection (11%) and medical cashplans (10%).

Nearly all (90%) respondents saw tax relief on medical-related employee benefits as one of the keys to controlling sickness absence.

But they also conceded that identifying the right benefits for tax relief was pivotal for any approach to be successful.

The Government, in its response in January to 2011’s “Health at work – an independent review of sickness absence” by Dame Carol Black and David Frost, said a decision on such tax relief would be announced in the Budget later this month.

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