The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has called for new tax incentives to improve the UK's poor record on rehabilitating workers suffering from work-related illness.

Each year businesses are paying up to GBP13 million to rehabilitate employees who are injured or fall ill in the workplace. In 2005 alone, over 28 million working days were lost to work-related illness.

ABI is calling for a new tax credit to reward employers who provide rehabilitation programs. It is also asking that employers who provide rehabilitation benefits should not have it deemed a tax benefit for employees and should qualify for tax relief for employers.

ABI’s proposal to improve rehabilitation at work forms part of its proposals for the reform of personal injury compensation.

Britain has one of the worst records on treating workplace ill health of all industrialized nations, said Justin Jacobs, ABI’s head of liability and motor insurance.

The ill, injured, their families, and businesses all pay the price through financial strain and lost productivity. Insurers are doing much to develop rehabilitation products, but we need to encourage greater employer take-up, and get government to lead in promoting greater rehabilitation.