Prime Minister mulls employer financial wellbeing and protection statements

The Prime Minister is believed to be considering ordering companies to file a statement on the financial wellbeing of their employees, as part of a package of measures designed to improve workers’ mental health and close the disability working gap.

But a white paper follow up to the Improving Lives: Work, Health and Disability green paper is not expected, sources close to Corporate Adviser say, because of a lack of parliamentary time due to Brexit.

Instead Number 10 is expected to announce a policy ‘roadmap’ that will focus on changes that can be made to close the disability working gap without introducing primary legislation.

Downing Street is understood to be seriously considering mandating a protection declaration that would require larger employers to publish details of their sickness absence payment policies and also give employees an annual statement telling them what they could get off the state, employer and any benefits, in the event they become long term sick.

Ministers are also believed to be considering a right to return to work for workers suffering long periods of incapacity that would mirror the protections offered to women returning to work following maternity leave.

The proposal that employers, potentially at first listed companies of a certain size, be required to publish a statement on the financial wellbeing of their employees in their annual accounts, is believed to be one of the recommendations of the review into mental health ordered by Prime Minister Theresa May last January. Mrs May commissioned Lord Dennis Stevenson and Mind’s Paul Farmer to conduct a review on how best to ensure employees with mental health problems are supported in the workplace.

But a review of who signs fit notes is expected to be kicked into the long grass because of a lack of ministerial appetite for a battle with GPs over the issue.

The findings of the Stevenson/Farmer review are expected imminently.