Judging from the pressure on hospital A&E departments many people are not “fit for work” this month. At least employers can now use the Government funded fit for work service to help their employees get back to work, as we explain below. We also have news of further changes to the VAT-MOSS guidance including a new concession. Finally HMRC have turned to social media to answer taxpayers’ SA questions – is this a help or hindrance?
Fit for work
From 6 April 2014 employers have been unable to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid to their employees. The Government promised to reinvest the money saved by withdrawing this refund scheme (mostly used by smaller employers) into a new health and work service to support employees to return to work. This was promised to be available from April 2014, then Autumn 2014…
Finally on 15 December 2014 the new health and work service was launched as a website called “Fit for Work”. There is a different website for workers in Scotland, but it is accessed from the same place. In fact the key part of the Fit for Work service – referral of the worker to an occupational health professional – is not operating yet.
When the referral service is working employees will be offered an occupational health assessment when they have been, or expect to be, absent from work due to sickness for four weeks or more. Employers can pay for medical treatments for their employees as recommended by such an assessment provided through Fit for Work, or by any other occupational health professional.
From 1 January 2015 the first £500 of such medical costs paid for by the employer, is a tax and NI-free benefit for the employee (ITEPA 2003, s 320C). The medical treatment must meet a number of requirements to qualify for this tax exemption as set out in regulations (SI 2014/3228). There is some useful guidance in the consultation document for those regulations on the circumstances in which treatments will qualify for the tax exemption or not.
This is an
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