Promoting health and wellbeing of staff must be a priority for employers

Health secretary Alan Johnson has called for all employers to do more to promote the health and wellbeing of their staff.

Speaking at the British Heart Foundation’s Well at Work conference, Johnson called on government to work with employers to improve the way health risks are identified, including stress and mental health.

Johnson said: “Ten years ago, we started the debate on work-life balance. Increased maternity leave, the introduction of paternity leave, time off for adoptive parents, and the right to request flexible working have led to a quiet revolution, as more employers recognise that supporting a healthy work-life balance is essential to recruiting and retaining talented staff. The next stage is to incorporate work-life balance with work health balance.”

Johnson set out key steps that employers and government must take:

  1. Employers taking steps to promote health and wellbeing in the workplace
  2. Government must work with employers to improve how we identify potential health risks – in particular, around stress and mental health – and address these risks
  3. Government must do more to help those who able to work, but have been prevented from doing so by health reasons to get back into the workplace.

Johnson is also expected to announce plans to change Britain’s ‘sicknote culture’ into a ‘well note culture’. GPs will issue ‘well notes’ informing employers of what tasks patients can perform instead of signing them off as sick.

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