Businesses and government need to issue a "clear and consistent message from the top that work is good for you", the co-author of the Sickness Absence Review has said.
David Frost also issued a warning about collusion between employers, workers, GPs and patients in order to claim benefits and revealed Fit Notes had doubled sickness absence levels.
Frost, co-author of Health at work - an independent review of sickness absence, along with Dame Carol Black, was speaking at the Group Risk Development (Grid) January members' meeting.
He explained that a "clear and consistent message from the top that work is good for you, inactivity bad and that you don't need to be 100% fit to work as work can hasten recovery" was required from employers and government to address workplace absence problems.
Frost also told Grid members that a key aim of the Report was to reduce the level of collusion on benefits that appeared to take place between employers and workers in some occupations, and GPs and patients in areas of high unemployment.
And he gave a stark warning that the new Fit Note scheme had not only failed to deliver its promised reduction in absence but actually doubled it.
He said it was "clear for a host of reasons that GPs are still signing people off too readily" and cited recent analysis from FirstCare of 22,086 employee records found that workers who went to their GP for a Fit Note were absent from work for 48 days on average, compared to 20 days for those who did not.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said the organisation had welcomed the report but was disappointed it did not include special provision for group income protection (GIP).
"The government has a role to play in raising awareness of the need to protect income against the consequences of prolonged disability and the importance of the workplace in doing this, in the same way they have done for pensions.
"We look forward to working with government to ensure that the value GIP brings is further recognised - for the benefit of businesses, employees and the State," she added.
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