The majority of employers (63%) believe they have a joint responsibility with employees to help staff back into the workplace after sickness absence, according to new research from Aviva UK Health.

In its 360 Degree Absence Management study, which polled nearly 700 employers, Aviva found that 21% of respondents believe it is the individual’s responsibility, 12% of employers feel it is solely up to the organisation, and only 2% believe it is up to the government.

The research shows that 63% of employers currently offer their staff one or more health-related benefit. Of those that do not offer any health-related benefits, 7% are planning to take out additional cover in the next 12 months.

Steve Bridger, head of group risk at Aviva UK Health, said: “Employers are a key stakeholder in the government’s welfare reform agenda so it is great to see that they recognise the essential role they have to play in helping their employees return to work following a period of sickness absence.

“While many employers offer benefits that can help rehabilitate employees back into the workplace, our research suggests more than a third (37%) offer their staff no health-related benefits.

“We believe that the government should be incentivising and rewarding employers that invest in workplace health and rehabilitation services.

“Not only can these benefits help speed an employee’s return to work by giving them access to support that is not readily available from the state, but a pro-active approach to absence management is also likely to deliver financial rewards for all stakeholders.”