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Reforming statutory sick pay
29/07/2021

Following its summer 2019 consultation entitled “Health is everyone’s business: proposals for reducing ill health-related job loss”, the government has now published its response which takes into account the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on work and health. The response confirms that the government:

  • will not be proceeding with the consultation proposal to introduce a new right for non-disabled employees to request work or workplace modifications on health grounds – note that the existing duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff under the Equality Act 2010 will remain in place
  • will be taking forward its manifesto commitment to encourage flexible working and to consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to – that consultation will be published “in due course”
  • will develop a national information and advice service for employers on health, work and disability, with material designed to help manage common health and disability events in the workplace
  • has asked the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to work on developing non-statutory guidance to support disabled people and those with long-term health conditions to remain in work (and the HSE will also explore introducing statutory guidance in this area)
  • will not be implementing the range of measures proposed to reform statutory sick pay (SSP) at this stage because “now is not the right time to introduce changes to the sick pay system”. However, the government does acknowledge that several important questions posed in the consultation on the future of SSP require further consideration, so reform in this area is still possible in the future
  • is exploring extending fit note certification to a wider group of healthcare professionals
  • intends to introduce digital certifying of fit notes (to remove the current requirement for them to be signed in ink) and create a new interactive version of the fit note which will provide advice and support for suggested workplace adaptations/modifications to encourage work and health discussions between patients and employers
  • will test a subsidy scheme to enable SMEs and self-employed people to access quality occupational health (OH) support and will work with key stakeholder organisations to explore how it may be able to support innovative ideas that increase the purchasing of OH by SMEs and the self-employed
  • will continue to promote and raise awareness of the Access to Work programme.

 

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