Council “diet police” should inspect the lunches of private sector workers, report urgesDrastic action needed to end “sick note culture”
The food in the canteens belonging to private sector employers should be monitored by council inspectors to help improve workers” health, a report says.
The private sector could save tens of billions of pounds in productivity lost through sick days if its staff ate better, according to the findings from think tank 2020Health.
The report urges drastic action to halt the cycle of sickness and the rise of an alarming “sick note culture” among the workforce.
Are you committing a weight crime A think tank has called for council “diet police” to inspect the food eaten by workers in the private sector
Recommendations include expanding the role of local authority-funded “diet police” to offer advice to the private sector on keeping employees well fed.
Figures show that up to 3 per cent of workers are off sick at any one time, with about 175million work days lost every year at a cost to the economy of more than 100billion.
2020Health”s leading recommendation, according to a Daily Telegraph report, is to expand the role of council health and safety inspectors to the private sector.
Their work would include advising on workers” diets, ensuring workstations are set up properly, and instructing staff in the importance of exercise.
Among other proposals, the report also recommends that private sector employers give workers who are recovering from illnesses the chance to work from home, and calls for NHS screenings to take place in the workplace
“Good health improves educational outcomes, enhances performance at work, increases savings rates and reduces the burden on the public purse by decreasing the demand for health services and benefits payments”
Julia Manning, chief executive of 2020Health
Its authors said their ideas were put forward to “complement the Government”s recent announcements on getting the sick back to work”.
But many in the private sector are likely to see them as giving licence for increased meddling and new red tape.
Julia Manning, 2020Health”s chief executive, claimed the recommendations would help to repair both Britain”s health and economic fortunes.
“The importance of health to economies is well established,” she was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.
“Good health improves educational outcomes, enhances performance at work, increases savings rates and reduces the burden on the public purse by decreasing the demand for health services and benefits payments.”
It has been estimated that about 3.4million working days could be clawed back annually in the NHS alone if it improved the health of its workers.