ABI chief calls for tax and reform action for rehab

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Tax incentives would encourage employers to adopt rehabilitation services, according to the Associat...

Tax incentives would encourage employers to adopt rehabilitation services, according to the Association of British Insurers.

Director general Stephen Haddrill discussed the challenges in getting employers to recognise the importance of rehabilitation in combating absenteeism, particularly in the small to medium-sized enterprise market.

He said the tax system currently penalises early intervention and called for the government to take action and offer incentives for those engaging in activities that reduce absence from work.

Mr Haddrill said while it could be years before small employers felt the benefits of investment in rehabilitation, when they did it was often crucial and "could stop them losing a key member of staff".

"That's why I think it's important to incentivise it for small businesses," he remarked.

Mr Haddrill said there is a need for early intervention as the earlier the insurer acted "the easier it is to get the employee back to work", adding that the industry needed to work to change attitudes.

"Rehabilitation sounds like what you need after a bout of overindulgence," he quipped. "We are dealing with return to work and getting fit for work - let's lose that language."

He said while the government is "on the cusp" of moving into action on rehabilitation, the Ministry of Justice is lagging behind with its long-awaited personal injury reforms.

Addressing fellow panel member Lord McKenzie, minister for health and work at the Department for Work and Pensions, Mr Haddrill said: "If you have got any of that action dust I would be grateful if you could sprinkle some on the MoJ.

"Unfortunately it has taken quite a long time to act on this. We are waiting for the next announcement on what the MoJ are going to do."

He said the government is convinced of the need for the reforms so is hopeful they will be released soon.

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