by Andrew Jenkinson – (Drewberry Insurance)
A recent study by Aviva found that half of the 688 employers surveyed believed that staff sickness has a significant impact on business: 27% admitted it can present a huge headache. Interestingly the research has also emphasised the emotional strain it can place on an employer. Just more than a third – 34% stated they had concerns regarding how to balance legal obligations while conventional business demands remain. While more than half of respondents stated their chief concern would be the health and wellbeing of the employee, as opposed to the running of the business.
With conditions such as cancer and heart disease; survival rates are improving, as are the odds of returning to complete health, and employees who are recovering, now wish to return to normal working lives. With this 17% of employers who might need to deal with life-threatening illness in the workplace, admitted they believed that their duty to both care for the employee and manage the business would be more difficult.
While ill employees do require due consideration, they also require expert psychological as well as physical support to assist in returning to work; those same support systems help them to remain in the workforce. Support systems include occupational health services and programs or incentives to help employees lead a healthier lifestyle.
Many employers are now utilising business protection plans as a way of finding the balance between their emotions to provide for their employees and the running of the business.
Products such as key man insurance and shareholder protection are set up to ensure your business is protected should vital staff suffer serious illness or death. While the core function of a group income protection scheme is to provide employees with a percentage of their gross earnings should they be unable to work for a prolonged period of time due to illness or injury.
Over the years the income protection insurers have recognised the need for additional services to support employees during long term sickness. As a result many insurers now offer employee assistance help lines and rehabilitation services to help manage sickness absence rates and support both employers and their employees during such difficult times.
With the limited requirements of statutory sick pay and the minimal Employment and Support Allowance available should an employee suffer long term absence, income protection is somewhat of a hot topic. Introducing such benefits not only removes the need to worry about the difficult questions which would no doubt arise should an employee suffer long term sickness but also adds value to your overall employee benefits package showing your employees the value you place on them.
Andrew Jenkinson – (Drewberry Insurance)