To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on the ability of older and disabled workers to find work as a result of the abolition of the percentage threshold scheme for recovering statutory sick pay.
The statutory sick pay percentage threshold scheme is not linked to finding work, rather it compensates employers with high levels of sickness absence. An independent review of sickness absence1 found that this scheme does nothing to tackle the causes of absence. As a result, the Government accepted a recommendation in the review to abolish the percentage threshold scheme. The Government also accepted a recommendation to establish a service (now known as the Health and Work Service) to offer specialist occupational health assessment and advice to employers, employees and GPs. The service is designed to reduce the costs of sickness absence for employers by addressing the issues preventing a return to work, and supporting employees back to work as quickly as appropriate.
We consider that the creation of the Health and Work Service, funded by the abolition of the percentage threshold scheme, will enable sickness absence to be better managed and improve the employment prospects of all employees, including older and disabled workers.
1 Black, C. and Frost, D (2011) Health at work-and independent review of sickness absence.