Part-time sick pay proposals for employees with fluctuating health conditions

23 January 2015

A report released this week calls on government to support measures to increase the flexibility of sickness absence policies to allow employees with fluctuating health conditions to pre-emptively arrange part-time sick leave.

The Work Foundation’s Health at Work Policy Unit has launched its second policy paper on fluctuating conditions which looks at the role of policy in improving organisational resilience to fluctuating conditions in the workforce. The paper considers the challenges faced by employers in managing a workforce where the prevalence of chronic and fluctuating conditions is set to rise.

It explores the kinds of support which employers will need from doctors and other healthcare professionals, from the welfare and benefits system and from other agencies such as the Fit for Work Service, Access to Work, Occupational Health services and patient advocacy groups. It also assess whether policy-makers have scope to do more to create a system of incentives and support for the many employers who wish to do more but lack access to advice, resources or support.

A ‘part-time sick pay’ system, which already operates in the Nordic countries, is designed to support people with temporarily reduced work capability to remain in work by making sick pay arrangements more flexible.

Commenting on the paper, lead author Karen Steadman - researcher at The Work Foundation - said: “Fluctuating health conditions are a very real threat to the sustainability of the UK workforce, and the resilience of UK businesses. It is our hope that government heeds this warning, and takes action to support employers in developing businesses that reflect the needs of the workforce, ensuring their productivity into the future.

The introduction of statutory part-time sick pay and growing income protection would go a long way to supporting those with fluctuating conditions. However, it is essential that government also impacts upon workplace culture and practice to ensure that employers fulfil their obligations to help their employees.”

Read the full report: Fluctuating conditions, fluctuating support: Improving organisational resilience to fluctuating conditions in the workforce