Workplace counselling to grow in wake of tax breakOn 7 Mar 2000 in Personnel Today Experts are predicting a growth in workplace counselling as a result of taxbreaks promised by the Government.Counselling has traditionally be classed as a benefit in kind and subject totaxation. But the Inland Revenue quietly announced at the end of last year thatit would be exempting all counselling from tax as long as services aregenerally available to all employees. Previously the only exemption had beenwhere counselling was given in the wake of workplace disasters such as thePaddington rail crash. Counselling will also escape the imposition of national insurance onemployee benefits which will come into force from April.This liberalisation, combined with growing concerns about high stress levelsamong staff leading to high rates of sickness, is seen as a springboard foremployers to offer counselling. Employers, trade unions and counselling providers met with Inland Revenueofficials recently to discuss the detail of the new tax exemptions. Employers campaigned to change the law which they argued went againstattempts to reduce sickness absence and was often unworkable due to theinter-related nature of personal and work problems.Socpo president Rita Sammons, who attended the recent meeting, said theInland Revenue had shown it was willing to listen and its flexible approachwould help employers reduce absenteeism and provide employee counselling.She said that there are still questions to be answered, such as how todistinguish between counselling and treatment and whether there would be alimit on the number of sessions an employee can receive. The Inland Revenuesaid details will be published after the Budget. By Dominique Hammond Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.