The insurance industry needs to build packages that are more accessible to lower earners and smaller workers to help bring rising sickness absences down, Dame Carol Black has said.
Black said: "The difficulty in the insurance world is how the products are designed. How can they be designed better to meet the needs and create accessibility for smaller workers."
Stress-related absences was a key theme at a Global Healthy Workplace Summit, sponsored by the Cigna Foundation, this morning at which Black was a keynote speaker.
Black said mental health problems were increasing as a result and the awareness that was building was a positive beginning in tackling stress-related sickness absences.
"Stress is increasing in the workplace and it is more than just the recession," she added.
"It is a very good thing that it is now becoming more acceptable to talk about it."
She added that how companies were monitoring absences was variable with some doing very well and others doing nothing.
Black said there was still a long way to go to reduce sickness absence levels but that there had been very good movement in the last five years on the issue.
More than 100 employers are attending the two-day summit in London.
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