Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Calls for workplace health to feature in Budget

Ahead of today’s budget announcement, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is calling for improved measures to address the state of workplace health.

In a recent letter to Chancellor George Osborne, IOSH urged the economic and social benefits of removing tax burdens for businesses who want to improve their workforce’s health and wellbeing.

The organisation wants to see more help for employers who, despite a struggling economy, are trying to do the right thing, with the removal of tax for those willing to provide therapies to help people back to work after injury or ill-health.

IOSH say that they would also like to see tax lifted for those businesses who contribute to gym and sports facility access for employees.

In his letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, IOSH Chief Executive Rob Strange OBE said:

“Such a forward-thinking initiative could help improve the health of the country’s workforce and make an important contribution to national efficiency, productivity and prosperity in these tough economic times.
“It’s a false economy to tax businesses who want to improve staff health and wellbeing. It puts them off providing those therapies that speed recovery and also deters employees who may also bear the brunt through their salaries. We want the Government to see that improving health and wellbeing in UK businesses would actually reduce demands on the state and the NHS, while helping struggling SMEs by cutting lost time and giving them incentives.”

This is echoed by firms themselves, with an IOSH-commissioned survey showing that over half – 57 per cent - of enterprises with 100-249 employees thought tax breaks for providing therapies for non-work injury and illness would benefit their companies.

Half also state that tax breaks would encourage them to provide more health-related support. Further, in enterprises of this size, more than two-thirds believe that tax breaks for subsidised access to public gyms and sports facilities for employees would benefit their company.

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