Not enough employers are looking after the health and well being of their employees, according to a government report.
Research conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions shows that four in ten people do not have access to health care benefits through their employer.
Two thirds of employers had not taken any action to help employees with health problems to stay in work or return to work. Of those who had taken action, most offered reduced working hours and support meetings where employees could express their needs.
Dorothy Tokat, regional manager at UNISON, was unsurprised by the findings.
She commented: “It is very interesting that so few employers have a system in place for absentees.
“While some of the outcomes of the report are positive, it would be interesting to see if the businesses involved were in the public or private sector.
Employer and employee opinion also came into conflict over helping individuals with health conditions.
Half of all employers believed their employees would not want them to intervene in health matters, while 80% of employees agreed that employers should help employees with long term health conditions to stay in the workplace.
At the same time, nine out of ten agreed that they would go to work with a short-term illness, while far fewer said that they would consider coming in with a hypothetical long-term illness.
“There is a hesitancy by employers not to encroach on private life, but there is an increasing over lap between the two and employers need to be more aware of this.
“When employees with long term illnesses do return to the workplace, employers have a duty of care to their staff to facilitate their smooth return to the workplace.”
Interestingly, those earning more than £36,400 tended to expect more provision from their employers, and were more likely to carry on working, compared to those earning under £15,599.