WHITEHALL Mandarins are understood to be close to finalising a deal aimed at cutting the UK’s £13bn sickness absence bill.
Officials hope to have new rules ready by the end of the month to discourage sick leave, including enrolling workers on a health insurance scheme.
The plan could see workers – as well as employers – pay health insurance contributions, but they would then have quick access to occupational health services, in theory speeding up their recovery and getting them back to work quicker.
The recommendations are likely to be made following a review led by former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) David Frost.
Insurance companies could also be liable for long-term sickness bills, saving the public purse or employer contributions.
Under Frost’s leadership, the BCC campaigned for the government to reduce the burden of regulation in the UK, while also throwing its weight behind the plans to reduce Britain’s large public deficit.
John Longworth, a former senior executive at both Asda and Tesco, was named as successor over the summer.