The Government has published guidance on its new Fit for Work service, which aims to help tackle the problem of long-term sickness absence.
The service is being introduced to help employees return to work who have been off sick for a period of four weeks or more. The new service will enable employers to refer their employees, with the employee's consent, for an occupational health assessment. Following the assessment, a return to work plan will be created, including recommendations for employers on how to assist the employee with getting back to work.
From 1st January 2015 a benefit in kind tax exemption of up to £500 per year per employee is available for employers spending on medical treatments designed to help the individual get back to work. The treatments can include talking therapies for stress conditions or physiotherapy for physical injuries which have been recommended by the assessment. However, to qualify as tax-free the medical treatment must be recommend in writing as part of an occupational health assessment undertaken by a healthcare professional.
The Department for Work and Pensions is advising employers to update their sickness policies to reflect the existence of the new service.
Statutory Sick Pay
Employees may be eligible for (SSP), of £87.55 a week for up to 28 weeks.
SSP is paid when the employee is sick for 4 days in a row.
You must keep records for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), including:
-all sickness periods lasting at least 4 days
-your SSP payments
-any weeks you didn’t pay and why
Keep all records for 3 years from the end of the tax year they relate to.
If you would like any help in this area please do get in touch.
Internet Link: fit-for-work-employers-guide.pdf