Looking After Your Employee's Health Before They Get Ill

Have you got an employee who feels something isn't quite right with their health? As an employer, how are you able to support them and ensure their productivity doesn't fall off because of a potential physical or mental health issue? ...

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the workforce has steadily grown. This includes adjustments for the retirement age rising, but still gave a significant increase in the number of individuals available for work.

"However, the trend is now downwards, especially since the pandemic!"

A lot of potential employees are now inactive due to physical, mental health or family issues. Although the Government are trying to address this by encouraging people back into work with various programmes, employers are thinking about how to help those that work for them, before any problems occur, or at least when the employee first notices them.

But that does mean potential interest from HMRC regarding benefit-in-kind payments and hence, deciding who would be liable for any tax due. And if it was the employee, then would they even want help in the face of the current cost-of-living issues we're all facing?

The good news is that Section 320B of ITEPA 2003 actually provides an exemption for a health-screening assessment and a medical check-up in any tax year. A health-screening assessment is to identify employees who might be at particular risk of ill health, and a medical check-up is a physical examination of the employee by a health professional helping to determine their state of health.

"Medical checks that are connected to the provision of medical treatment are not covered!"

If they're receiving medical treatment already, the medical check wouldn't be exempt, but there is a separate exemption in section 320C ITEPA 2003 for medical treatment of up to £500 which would enable an absent employee to return to work.

As an example, if an employee was having headaches, but didn't know why, if the employer pays for them to have a private medical check-up to discover a cause, then that would be a benefit in kind. Income Tax and NIC would depend on who entered into the contract and if the employer paid direct to a provider or reimbursed the employee.

"But a general health screening for your entire team should be exempt!"

With so many different physical and mental health issues that could affect your employee's performance and the general stress we all feel with the cost of living crisis, health screenings for all may be a good idea.

However, if you want to offer an employee help discovering or treating an issue the screening discovers, you have to be very careful it doesn't create a benefit-in-kind situation that would mean an Income Tax and National Insurance liability.

It is well worth checking with your accountant first.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything I've said here, do call me on 01908 774320 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.