"Support is already available, and those employers who make the most of it will be the winners."
- Katharine Moxham, Spokesperson for GRiD
Earlier this year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed 2.6mn economically inactive adults in the UK claimed long-term sickness had caused their circumstances. Consequently, Group Risk Development (GRiD) has stressed the importance of retaining employees and facilitating their continued employment.
As well as offering preventative support, GRiD has said employee benefits should include return-to-work support during periods of illness. This could include fast-track vocational rehab, talking therapies, virtual GP, access to second medical opinions, and self-help apps.
Once returned to work, employers should continue to offer flexibility to help them manage symptoms. This may include reasonable adjustments or other more specialised interventions so they can continue working.
Meanwhile, GRiD has said employers should provide additional support to Human Resources (HR) and line managers who have staff with chronic conditions, such as legal helplines.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, felt staff resignations due to chronic illness aren’t inevitable if employers have support in place and are prepared to be flexible. “What ‘good work’ looks like may differ for an employee before and after the diagnosis of a long-term illness,” Katharine explained.
She emphasised that while the government is considering different ways to reduce the UK’s economically inactive population, “we would encourage employers not to wait to see what solution is suggested.”