If someone has been out of work for six months or longer due to illness, there is an 80pc chance of that person being off work for five years, according to Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar.
For this reason the minister now plans to introduce a 'Healthy You: Early Intervention' programme to support more people to get back to work if they have an illness or disability.
"One approach for the management of low back pain has been shown to be not only cost effective, it has also significantly reduced time off work and symptoms after one year. As low back pain was the most common reason for certified illness absence in Ireland in 2015, we're likely to start off by looking at this area," he said.
"Having looked at an individual's circumstances, it may be necessary to develop a unique approach to the supports they need to help them back to work. This could include health services, financial assistance, information resources and workplace adaptation.
"Consultation is still underway before it is ready for launch. We all want to ensure that ill, injured or disabled people receive what they require so that they can get on with life, including work, to the best of their potential.
"This ensures that the individual benefits, their family benefits, their employer benefits, the health service benefits and society as a whole benefits," he added.
Health & Living