The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the way welfare counselling provided by employers is taxed.

The Government has indicated it will extend the scope of non-taxable counselling services to include related medical treatment when provided to an employee as part of an employer’s welfare counselling services. The changes will take effect from April 2020.

The announcement was made by Mr Sunak in his spring budget and comes after our Chief Executive, Hadyn Williams, co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking for tax exemptions for businesses investing in employee wellbeing.

Working Well Coalition

The letter was signed by us and other members of the Working Well Coalition, which is led by the John Lewis Partnership.

Kris Ambler, our Workforce Lead and representative on the Working Well Coalition, said that while we wait for more details, it represents a good first step in its work.

“This announcement shows that the Government has listened to our calls to give tax incentives to employers,” said Kris.

Workplace counselling

“While the devil is likely to be in the detail, this welcome move will free up resources for many businesses to invest in workplace counselling.

“Workplace counselling plays an essential role in helping people stay in and thrive at work. We’re pleased employers will have an added incentive to invest in the mental wellbeing of their most important asset, their people, and those that do can expect to achieve tangible financial returns.

"We’re proud to be at the forefront of work, alongside our strategic partners, to improve paid employment prospects for our members.

"For our members that provide counselling in occupational settings, whether through EAPs provision or other models, this will be especially welcome news.

“And the hundreds of delegates attending the recent Health and Wellbeing at Work Conference, many of whom were looking to invest in employee wellbeing services, will also share our optimism.”

Dr Steve Boorman MBE, chair of the Council for Work and Health, said the budget announcement was positive news.

However, Dr Boorman would like to see the move go further with “tax incentives extended to other forms of early intervention”.

For more information please email our Kris Ambler, our Workforce Lead.