Media - Press Releases

Unum responds to ‘Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability' paper - 'encourages further action'

8th December 2017

Employee benefits specialist Unum welcomes the Government’s latest paper ‘Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability’ as a positive first step toward helping those with serious health problems and disabilities thrive at work, and encourages further actions to be taken. The report published on 30 November follows last year’s Work, Health and Disability Green Paper.

Peter O’Donnell, CEO of Unum UK, said:

“Supporting people with health conditions or disabilities so they can stay at work or return to work and reach their fullest potential is not just a core part of our business – it’s a major societal challenge. We welcome the Government’s efforts to address this issue and remain fully committed to working with the Government and other key stakeholders to tackle this challenge and find practical solutions to build a healthier and more productive workforce.”


Unum has provided a number of key recommendations to the government including getting more people protected by Group Income Protection cover by offering financial incentives to small business.


Peter O’Donnell continued:

“When faced with health conditions, employees fare far better when they can access a comprehensive range of support services. This includes early intervention services, preventative action and rehabilitation support, as well as financial support. Employers providing Group Income Protection can deliver this, bringing enormous value to employees by supporting their physical, mental and financial health at work. Making this available to more of the UK workforce would bring significant benefits to employers, employees and tax payers.


“Offering a temporary tax incentive could enable smaller employers to invest in Group Income Protection, which would help far more people with long term health problems to stay in work or return to work. Unum, along with other members of the industry, has also suggested introducing an annual Protection Statement that shows working people the chance of becoming too ill to work, the income they could expect from their employer and the state, and signpost them to impartial information on how to improve their financial resilience."


John Letizia, Head of Public Affairs and CSR at Unum UK, said:

“We also support the government’s proposal to improve sickness certification and the use of NHS Fit Notes. Understanding how Fit Notes are used by medical professionals, employees and employers can ensure people get the right support to return to work wherever possible. We’ve highlighted how inconsistencies in the certification process mean that many people on sickness absence don’t get the timely information and support they need to return work effectively. We’re pleased to see the Government is proposing an independent evaluation of the process to make room for improvements, and Unum is committed to assist where possible.”


Notes to editors:

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