The next government should do more to support staff well-being, a fifth of employers have said in research from trade body Group Risk Development.
The study of 500 UK businesses revealed that 19 per cent of employers want the next government to take more action on the wellbeing of employees. The survey of businesses with 5-1000 employees and 1000 employees also found that 9% wanted an extension of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme to support SMEs.
The study showed that among employers’ own efforts to improve staff wellbeing, 64% are promoting a healthy work/life balance and almost half (47%) are promoting more flexible working initiatives for employees.
38% of employers said that managing stress was reported as a focus for them, including line managers being better-trained in spotting signs of stress and mental health conditions among their co-workers, along with health and wellness promotions.
Suggestions to change income tax and national insurance to simplify the system were also a popular incentive on employers’ wish lists, with merging the two supported by a fifth (20%) of those surveyed.
Katharine Moxham, the spokesperson for Group Risk Development, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that not only do employers recognise the importance of this [health and wellbeing of employees], but we know they are also doing their best to implement health and wellness support in the workplace. However, what is evident is that employers would like greater support and incentives to be able to do this.”
Roll-out of the referral service offered in the government’s new Fit for Work service started last month, which is expected to help employees stay in or return to work. Employees can be referred to the service following four weeks of sickness for an occupational health assessment.
Work advice is also available for employees, employers and GPs. The government has predicted that this will save employers £70m a year when the system is fully operational, though the total cost of sick pay and associated costs to business is estimated at around £9bn.