The government should incentivise employers to engage people with long-term health conditions who are able to work, the Work Foundation recommends.
Furthermore, an ageing population, higher retirement age, and increased chronic illness mean the workforce health challenge issue is likely to grow, it added.
The Foundation's Investing in a Workforce Fit for the Future set out the workforce health policy challenges for the government.
The report drew on the research from four white papers produced by the Health at Work Policy Unit in the last year.
Key findings from these included that almost half (42%) of all employees took time off sick every year, just under half (48%) of people with a long-term illness condition were in work, and 7% of employees took long-term sickness absence lasting two weeks or more.
The report concluded the four challenges for the government were:
- Incentivising employers to take action
- Supporting individuals with long-term conditions
- Driving action at a local level
- Supporting older workers with health problems
In addition, the costs of ill-health in the working age population were not only borne by the health, social and welfare systems, but also in terms of national productivity, and by individuals and their families.
It recommended three main ways the government could contribute to building a healthy, productive UK workforce that is fit for the present, and fit for the future. These included:
- Integrating specialist support for older workers into occupational health and back to work services such as Fit for Work;
- Encouraging individuals and employers to plan early on for the health challenges of working in later life including introducing mid-life career reviews for employees and offering support to employers wishing to assess the physical and psychological demands on their workforce
- Changing attitudes and creating an age friendly working environment including the removal of the 26 week rule and extension of the right to request flexible working.
The Department of Health's Expert Adviser Professor Dame Carol Black said in the foreword of the report: "The case for investing energy and resources in building a healthy workforce and healthy workplaces has been strongly made and is widely accepted. But we are still unsure about the most effective kinds of intervention.
"What we need now is creative thinking, innovative interventions and solid evidence of effectiveness. This will enable government, and other public sector and private organisations, to focus on supporting actions that deliver real and sustainable change."
The technology to improve employees’ wellbeing is already here. But it is now in employers’ hands to make sure it is used to create successful corporate wellness programmes
Here they are - the winners of the Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards 2020...
Here they are. The finalist lists for the WSB Awards 2020.
Almost all (92%) employers would consider setting up a workplace savings scheme in addition to a pension in light of recent market turmoil caused by Covid-19, Cushon finds.
There are just a few weeks left to enter this year's Workplace Savings and Benefits Awards.