21/11/11

  • 70% of businesses believe that the rules on how to handle sickness absence are burdensome*

Commenting on the sickness absence review, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Sickness absence and the rules that surround it are a big problem for UK firms. 70% of businesses believe that the rules on how to handle sickness absence are burdensome. On that basis, we welcome the deregulatory measures recommended in this review. All of them, including changes to dismissal rules and the Equality Act, should be introduced by the government without delay to aid firms and boost job creation.

“The existing ‘fit note’ system does not work for business. Since employers want individuals back in the workplace as soon as they are able, the proposal for a thorough assessment at four weeks will boost employer confidence. Most people who are off sick could undertake some duties, so the new system will get them back into work sooner, benefiting individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole.

“The review was right to discount compulsory insurance, which would not tackle the problem of sickness absence in British companies, and simply added more costs for all concerned.

“Ministers must focus on implementing the new assessment and the other measures recommended by this review quickly, to make sure everyone who can work, does work.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

*Statistics from the BCC's Workforce Survey of 5,900 firms, carried out between March-April 2011.

David Frost CBE and Dame Carol Black were commissioned by DWP and BIS to carry out an independent review of the UK’s sickness absence system. A government response is expected in January 2012.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people.

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk