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Unum welcomes Green Paper focus on Group Income Protection

1st November 2016

Unum has welcomed the government’s recognition in a new Green Paper that “Group Income Protection policies have a much greater role to play in supporting employers” help people with health problems to stay in or return to work.

The proposals were set out in Improving Lives: the Work, Health and Disability Green Paper, launched by the Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health, yesterday, 31 October 2016. As part of its efforts to enable “more people with long term conditions to reap the benefits of work and improve their health”, the Paper includes a number of proposals to prevent people falling out of work for health reasons and to make employers feel more confident about supporting disabled employees. In particular, it includes a number of specific policy ideas to increase the number of British workers with Group Income Protection (GIP).

Through GIP, Unum has enabled thousands of people to return to work after long term sickness absences caused by mental health and musculoskeletal problems and other serious health conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis. Unum also provides training, support and advice to employers and line managers on how to look after employees with health problems and help them stay in or return to work.

To increase the number of workers who benefit from GIP coverage, Unum is calling on the government to consider a temporary tax break for employers that buy GIP for their staff. This would reduce the number of people who fall out of work for health reasons, protect the finances of those who are unable to work and boost the productivity of UK businesses.

The Green Paper also calls for proposals to overhaul sickness certification and GPs’ approach to Fit Note. Unum has been calling for reform of Fit Notes so more people are able to access the right support to return to work as soon as possible.

Commenting on the Green Paper, Unum’s HR Director Liz Walker, said:

“Thousands of caring employers big and small already appreciate the value of GIP. When an employee is on long term sick leave, getting back to work is a major milestone in their recovery. Enabling people with health problems to thrive in your organisation makes good business sense and benefits taxpayers too.

Seven out of ten people with serious health problems who use our return to work service get back to work with their same employer. The more working age people that have GIP, the fewer will fall out of work and the best way to increase coverage is a temporary tax break for employers”.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

Improving Lives: the Work, Health and Disability Green Paper is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/work-health-and-disability-improving-lives. It includes a number of proposals to transform employment prospects for disabled people and people with long-term health conditions.

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