Sick pay changes bad for financial health of businesses warn wealth managers

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WORKERS with poor health pose a major threat to the financial well being of small business owners as the economy recovers, according to a wealth management business.

The warning from Leeds-based Pearson Jones comes after the Government announced it is scrapping the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which compensated bosses for higher than average sickness leave among their staff.

Absence from work through sickness costs the UK economy £14bn a year and hits small enterprises (SMEs) particularly hard, according to a CBI Absence and Workplace Health Survey.

Graham Davis, Pearson Jones risk benefits consultant, said: “The wealth of small business owners is very closely associated with the success of their enterprise because, as well as being their living, a business is usually their major asset and pension. This means that staff absence, or under performance, through sickness can hit their pockets especially hard.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the British economy but also the most exposed. The last five years have been grueling with many staff in SMEs doing the jobs of two people and people working when sick because they fear the consequences of not pulling their weight.

“All this has led to a huge build up of stress among staff with the potential for more time being taken off while businesses will soon be unable to recover funds through the PTS and risk losing money as a result.”

While employers will be able to make claims for the reimbursement of statutory sick pay for periods up to April 5 2014 until the end of the 2015/16 tax year, SSP record keeping will also be abolished although bosses will still need to keep sickness records for PAYE purposes.

Mr Davis said that in place of PTS other measures are being introduced through a Health and Work Service designed to support employers with the health of their staff through counseling and access to occupational health professionals.

He added: “Workplace health is becoming more important as part of helping Britain capitalize on the economic recovery. People stressed through overwork or domestic problems do not perform as well and can disrupt an entire small enterprise but there are now steps which employers can take to get help.”

Pearson Jones is to hold a free seminar on moves to help employers take a greater role in the health of their staff at the Village Hotel, Headingley, on September 2 to discuss issues including staff resilience training, staff assistance programmes and sick pay insurance.