The Government is to conduct a review into sickness absence as part of its welfare reforms
The Government will conduct a review of sickness absence as part of its broad sweep of welfare reforms aimed at making life easier for individuals that show a commitment to the workplace.
The review will be led by Dame Carol Black, and will consider whether workers taking sickness-related absence could return to work if given sufficient guidance and support.
Statistics released by the Confederation of British Industry
(CBI) reveal that there are 180m working days lost each year, costing the economy around £17bn. Long-term sickness is a major problem for SMEs who find it more difficult to make up for productivity losses.
Ben Willmott, senior policy adviser for the CIPD, said: "The Prime Minister is absolutely right when he says that a short spell of sickness can far too easily become a gradual slide into a lifetime of benefit dependency, and we welcome the weight he is throwing behind efforts to solve this seemingly intractable problem.”
The Government review will consider a range of measures that could potentially be implemented to encourage a return to work. Credit schemes and benefit caps are one of the most talked-about possibilities; trials are expected to run to at least March 2012 and will be extended to individuals on incapacity benefit if initial results are satisfactory.