At the launch of the Health at Work Policy Unit yesterday, Bevan said that while many payrolled employees often have access to health and wellbeing benefits and support through their workplace, there is a challenge to ensure 4 million self-employed workers (15% of the UK’s workforce) are covered.
“We need to find out how we get those people access early on to the type of support they need, to prevent them from falling out of self-employment,” Bevan said.
“Some people have moved into self-employment really as a last resort, sometimes out of desperation, so we need a more nuanced approach to this and I think this is a ticking time-bomb,” he added.
Bevan challenged the notion that self-employment is a “rekindling of an entrepreneurial spirit”.
He said: “The average take home pay of a self-employed person is £10,000 a year. And [Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population] showed that 85,000 self-employed people a year moved directly from self-employment onto incapacity related benefits.”
Patrick Watt, the corporate director of Bupa Health Funding believes trade bodies would be the most cost effective vehicle to provide support to the self-employed.