Employer participation in the new Health and Work Service (HWS) could become mandatory if its initial voluntary structure is not a success, the government has admitted.
Minister for welfare reform Lord Freud acknowledged the potential for such a move at the launch of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Mental health and work in the UK report.
As WSB first revealed in November, the service will be run on a voluntary basis to begin with.
Lord Freud said: "It is strictly a voluntary service, it is not a mandatory service as it could have been and it may become (as the OECD recommended), but we want to see how it works first on a voluntary basis.
"It is in the end a voluntary service and we are hoping that it can remain a voluntary service. That is one factor that we will monitor very closely," he added.
The OECD report recommended that employers be sanctioned for not co-operating and implementing measures recommended by the HWS.
WSB understands that mandating employers and/or employee participation is the preferred option of many who have been involved in the creation of the Health and Work Service.
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