Firms call upon HMRC for new tax breaks to beat long-term sick leave

Employers and SMEs across the UK are calling for new tax breaks after a study revealed that firms’ productivity is falling due an increase in long term absences.

The news comes following a recent study, which quizzed some 300 manufacturing sector businesses on their employee habits – and found that long term absences had risen significantly in the past two years for at least two fifths of firms.

Industry body, the EEF manufacturers’ organisation, which conducted the survey, is now calling upon HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to offer tax breaks to businesses to combat the “chronic” problem.

“Government must now use fiscal incentives to encourage employers to pay for private medical treatment and allow it to be offset in the same way as other business expenses,” said Terry Woolmer, head of health and safety policy at EEF.

His comments come after the EEF survey revealed that confidence in UK GP’s to improve return-to-work rates had fallen significantly since 2014.

“Not only would this help take the pressure off the NHS but it would allow a speedier return to work. This would be a win-win for Government, the employee and employers,” he added.

“Keeping people fit and healthy, whilst enabling a speedy return to work from absence, is essential to economic growth and improvements in productivity.”