The Government yesterday published its response to Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE's Health at work - an independent review of sickness absence, setting out its plan to minimise sickness absence and help employees as they return to work.
We welcome the Government's ministerial statement, which retains existing tax relief on Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). However, as organisations seek to cut costs, EAPs and counselling services are often targeted, when the prudent solution would be to increase investment in such services. Workplace counselling services have been proved to offer a positive cost benefit to employers, help reduce sickness absence and impact positively on employee wellbeing, collectively generating a more productive workforce.
BACP Chief Executive, Laurie Clarke, said:
"Retaining the tax relief is a good start but we hope this is just the beginning. We have entered a new era in the workplace, where the workforce is expected to deliver more for less - less money, less people and fewer resources. The only way this will be achieved is by promoting the psychological and emotional resilience of the workforce through programmes such as EAPs, delivering counselling, information, advice and support to help people either retain or quickly regain their equilibrium, their performance and their workplace engagement.
"We would like to see workplace counselling fall within the remit of the Public Health Responsibility Deal which this Government has initiated, with greater emphasis placed on the employer's responsibility to make provision. Currently some 10 million workers in the UK have access to an EAP - we would like the government to work with employers to increase this number and make access to confidential, effective, evidence-based counselling a right in the workplace."
The full independent review can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/73ug95q
The Government response can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/ax9rtfp