UK Firms Seek Tax Breaks to Boost Employee Health

UK Firms Seek Tax Breaks to Boost Employee Health

UK Firms Seek Tax Breaks to Boost Employee Health

UK Firms Seek Tax Breaks to Boost Employee Health

UK Firms Seek Tax Breaks to Boost Employee Health

In a move underscored by the realities of an ageing workforce of older workers and heightened sickness rates, UK businesses are advocating for government-provided tax incentives to invest in employee health. This call to action is part of a broader strategy to address a workplace pressing health crisis and accommodate an older worker demographic within the workforce, as revealed in a recent study by the British Standards Institution (BSI).

The report highlights a significant trend among UK business leaders, with 46% supporting financial incentives for giving a skills boost and hiring older workers. This demographic is expected to swell in numbers; Age UK predicts a 10% increase in the over-65 population within the next five years, with a 32% rise anticipated by 2043. This would add an estimated 3.5 million people to this age group, signalling a critical need for sustainable employment strategies for older adults.

The notion of adjusting the retirement age is also gaining traction. The International Longevity Centre has proposed raising the retirement age to 71 to balance the ratio of workers to pension recipients, considering the increasing life expectancy.

Furthermore, the BSI survey disclosed that 50% of business leaders see an urgent need for government investment in mental health and well-being support. This need is magnified by the explosion in long-term sickness affecting the UK labour market post-pandemic. Currently, 2.8 million individuals are unable to work due to health issues, a significant rise from 2.1 million before the pandemic, making the UK the only major economy yet to recover to pre-pandemic employment levels.

The government’s response to the escalating mental health crisis includes contemplating major reforms aimed at reducing benefit dependency among those with mental health issues. Recent discussions have involved replacing ongoing cash payments with one-off grants for recipients of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), especially targeting those suffering from depression and anxiety. This shift reflects a broader governmental critique of current disability and health benefits, deemed unsustainable due to their escalating costs. Projections show a 52% increase in PIP expenditure, from £21.6 billion in 2023 to an estimated £32.8 billion by 2027.

This complex landscape of health needs, economic considerations, and policy adjustments presents a unique challenge for the UK. The proposed tax incentives for investing in employee health and mental health are seen not just as a financial measure, but as a vital strategy to foster a healthier, more resilient workforce capable of adapting to demographic shifts and health challenges.

The Workers Union Says…

“The call for tax incentives reflects a necessary shift towards sustainable health investments that can significantly impact both the workforce and the broader economy, emphasizing the importance of strategic health management in policy planning.”

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