The British government planned to launch a new service unit to get people on long-term sick benefits back into work, announced the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Monday.
The new unit, called the Health and Work Service, will offer non-compulsory medical assessments and treatments plans to help employees who have been on sickness absence for four weeks to return to work and support employers to better manage sickness absence among their workforce.
The plan is expected to save employers 70 million pounds (115 million U.S. dollars) a year and cut the time people spend off work by 20 percent to 40 percent.
Figures released by the government showed that there were as many as 960,000 employees in Britain were on sick leave for a month or more each year on average between October 2010 and September 2013.
The DWP said in a statement getting long-term sick back to work is "part of the government's long-term economic plan."
It said almost a quarter of a million coming off incapacity benefits since 2010, and almost a million who put in a claim actually have been found fit for work.
"It now wants to do more to support business to prevent sickness absence turning into long-term welfare dependency in the first place by setting up a new support service," it said.
The DWP believed that more than 130 million days are still being lost to sickness absence every year in Britain and working-age ill health costs the national economy 100 billion pounds a year.
"We are taking action to improve get people back into work. This is a triple-win. It will mean more people with a job, reduced cost for business, and a more financially secure future for Britain," said Minister of State for Work and Pensions Mike Penning.
The Health and Work Service will offer a work-focused occupational health assessment and case management to employees in the early stages of sickness absence.
The service will include a timetable for a return to work, fitness for work advice, as well as signpost to appropriate help. Employees will be supported throughout their time with the service, so they can return to work as soon as they are able to.
In Britain, employees who are off work for more than four weeks are considered to be long-term sick and entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of almost 90 pounds a week from their employers. (1 pound = 1.64 U.S. dollars)