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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3015

Employers urged to support workplace health to improve productivity

Monday 28 June 2010

Businesses in the East of England have been urged to take responsibility for workplace health according to a Government expert in health work and wellbeing.

Speaking at the latest East of England Employment Relations Forum (EEERF), Dame Carol Black, National Director for Health and Work and author of the government review into work related health services, highlighted how work is good for employees and business productivity, and has a wider impact beyond into the local community as well.

Dame Carol addressed more than 100 employers at the EEERF conference in Suffolk organised in partnership with Acas in June.

With ill health costing the economy £100 billion a year, Dame Carol urged businesses to intervene early as the workplace is a good starting point for prevention.

Dame Carol also outlined progress against her original recommendations – as part of the review carried out in 2008 - which included the new electronic "fit note" that has replaced the old sick note; changes to occupational health services and a new Fit for Work service.

Oliver Pryke from Taylor Vinters gave an overview of the legislative changes that will affect employers over the coming year such as the Equality Act, "fit notes" and additional paternity leave. Delegates were also offered other practical support available from a number of local exhibitors.

Other speakers included Steve Mann from the Commercial Workers Union (CWU) and Dr Peter Bradley from NHS Suffolk.

Event Chair, Acas Eastern Director, David Prince, said: "The conference was a valuable opportunity to raise awareness among employers particularly those unfamiliar of the support available to them. This includes the impact of their policies for example, training for line managers and better understand of health, work and wellbeing initiatives generally. Employers and other key partners need to work together to support employees with benefits for all sides."

For further information and advice about the review visit www.workingforhealth.gov.uk.

Notes for editors

About Acas

Acas' aim is to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. It provides information, advice, training and a range of services working with employers and employees to prevent or resolve problems and improve performance. It is an independent statutory body governed by a Council consisting of the Acas Chair and employer, trade union and independent members. For further information about Acas visit www.acas.org.uk/fitnotes.

About the EEERF

The East of England Employment Relations Forum is self-funded made up of a mix of high-profile economic and social partners and key employers to discuss issues and invite contributions through informal debate with speakers in the context of changes in product and labour markets, technologies, the organisation of work and employment legislations. Members are drawn from employers' organisations, trade unions, employment relations professionals, employment lawyers and academics. For further information about the forum email burysevents@acas.org.uk

For press enquiries please contact Clare Carter, Acas Press and PR Manager on 020 7210 3688 or Lou Owen, Acas Media and Marketing Officer on 0207 210 3920