Consultation on work, health and disability: improving lives

Close date: 17 February 2017

The Government consults on wide-ranging proposals to improve job opportunities and retention for disabled people and those with long-term health conditions, as part of a 10-year programme of reform. It wishes to understand how employers can be incentivised to recruit more people with long-term health conditions and disabilities and improve support for those in work.

The consultation explores how best to encourage employers to help employees to stay healthy in work by supporting health and wellbeing in the workplace and by adopting healthy workplace cultures. Among the proposals to help employees remain in work are plans to increase support for those with mental health conditions, older workers and carers. The consultation invites views on how employers can be encouraged to support phased returns to work and asks whether or not statutory sick pay should be reformed to encourage phased returns to work. It also asks how employers can be supported to establish good practices, such as flexible working arrangements.

For public-sector employers, the Government is considering plans to require employers to do more to monitor and review their recruitment, sickness absence and wellbeing activities to support employees in work. It further plans to ensure that government departments are encouraged to sign up to the "Disability Confident" initiative, which helps employers understand how they can do more for those with health conditions and disabilities.

The Government also seeks views on how best employers can be supported to create work environments that encourage disclosure of health conditions and to act on the health needs of their workforce. It believes that occupational health services can help employers promote health and wellbeing and support employees to manage a disability or health condition at work and asks how best to encourage more employers to offer occupational health services to staff. It also asks what role the insurance sector should play in supporting the recruitment and retention of disabled people and people with health conditions and what the barriers are for employers of different sizes adopting insurance products for their staff.

The consultation also sets out the Government's proposals for reviewing how fit notes operate, for instance by allowing fit notes to be issued by health professionals other than doctors, and its plans to reform the work capability assessment.
Consultation document: Consultation on work, health and disability: improving lives
Consultation outcome: Improving lives - the future of work, health and disability