John Lewis calls for occupational health services to be tax exempt

The John Lewis Partnership has called on the Government to make all occupational health services tax exempt, to encourage employer investment in the physical and mental health of workers.

The call is contained in the Working Well Report, including research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research and YouGov, which reveals the total cost of absenteeism and reduced productivity due to mental health and musculoskeletal conditions for UK businesses could be as much as £87.8bn by 2025.

Currently, employer-provided occupational health services are a taxable benefit to the employee and subject to Income Tax and National Insurance. This can result in an effective tax rate of more than 40 per cent for those employers that wish to settle the taxes on behalf of their employees.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of UK workers surveyed for the report stated they had gone into work while experiencing a mental health condition in the last 12 months and over half (52 per cent) had done the same for a musculoskeletal condition.

Tracey Killen, partner and director of personnel for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Having a supportive employer who promotes employee health and wellbeing can make a real difference to someone grappling with a physical or mental health condition and their recovery. For business, a healthy, engaged workforce can boost performance and productivity. Today’s report highlights that if employers, health experts and the Government all work together, we can achieve great things for the UK economy, businesses and workers.”

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