DWP supports removing employer tax barriers


The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has said removing tax disincentives for employers to implement health and wellbeing strategies may be the “best way forward”.

As COVER previously revealed, Dame Carol Black co-author of the impending Sickness and Absence review, has vowed to recommend that Treasury remove tax disincentives that restrict businesses implementing these initiatives.

Dame Black has previously made the call but could not persuade Treasury of the value of this, however it appears the political mood may have changed.

Speaking at a Legal & General roundtable event, Esther McVey MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chris Grayling, the Minister for Employment, told COVER the coalition was open to the idea.

"We've said we're going to get rid of red tape and bureaucracy, we're looking at aids to assist businesses and if that [removing tax disincentives] is the best way forward then I guess that's the best way to go," she said.

"If it makes sense to a business, if it's common sense across the board and there's tools to actively help then surely cooperation is the best way forward," she added.

However, while acknowledging the positive effects that employer involvement in health and wellbeing can have, McVey added that new legislation was not likely.

"We're not a party that brings in legislation when it's not necessary, but what you can do is shine a light on an issue, highlight it," she continued.

"This should be a win-win benefit to employers with witnessing the bad effects of absenteeism and presenteeism and seeing they could benefit from this.

"Sometimes you don't need to bring legislation in. I think it's a win-win across the board and that's why the issue has got such cross departmental support and also with businesses.

"And that's what we're looking to do - we're looking for support not a complication," she added.

Dame Black is set to publish the findings of the review next week.

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