People at work

New scheme helping to support SMEs

The Welsh Government has announced the launch of a new scheme that will enable small and medium-sized enterprises to gain access to health and wellbeing support.

Over the course of the next two years, the In-Work Support Service will be delivered through £8 million of support from the Welsh Government, with aims of providing free access to therapeutic support for employees of SMEs, or those who are self-employed. Those who are absent from work, or at risk of absence, due to mental or physical health will be able to get support that is aiming to ensure that they can stay in, or return to, work.

The support service will be building on a former European-funded service that was able to provide support in North Wales and Swansea Bay up until December last year. The new development means that the service will operate across all of Wales for the first time, with up to 7,000 people potentially being supported.

Common musculoskeletal condition therapeutic support, such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropody, and podiatry, will be provided for employees alongside mental health support including counselling and stress management.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said:

“Businesses increasingly appreciate the link between wellbeing and a happy and productive workforce, and the economic benefits that investing in activities which promote good health bring to a business or organisation.

“This new scheme will enable businesses who lack occupational health services of their own to access important support for their employees or themselves. I’m looking forward to seeing smaller businesses across Wales, and their workers, benefit from the support of the new In-Work Support Services, which will now be available across the whole of Wales for the first time.”

This plan is supporting the Welsh Government’s Plan for Employability and Skills, which was launched in 2022. This plan sets out how the government is to support people with long-term health conditions to get back into work by preventing them from falling out of work. The government is aiming to achieve this through health prevention, early intervention, and healthy workplaces.

Vaughan Gething, Minister for Economy, added:

“As part of our work to reduce economic inactivity, we’re taking action to support people to stay in work and those further away from the labour market to find employment.

“This scheme will be crucial in helping prevent people from losing their job due to work-limiting health conditions and will help people remain in work or return to work sooner. This will be a real benefit to the employee, employer, and the wider economy.”

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