It creates a two-tier system for ill-health retirement benefits, that offers greater support to those unable to work again, and a lower level of benefits to staff likely to be re-employed elsewhere.
The package sets out minimum standards for employers on support for staff who are off sick. It recommends options including phased return to work, redeployment to other jobs and access to support services to help staff return to work. It also gives scope for employers to reinstate sick pay when entitlements have been exhausted.
The deal takes effect UK-wide in tandem with the NHS pensions deal that will see staff employed by the NHS from this month retire at 65.
Richard Parker, staff-wide chair for the NHS Pensions review said: ‘NHS staff will benefit as the emphasis is for NHS managers to communicate with staff when they are off sick and seek to offer them ways and means of getting back to work. When a return to work is not possible the NHS pension provisions will support those staff.'
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