One third of employers don’t have financial support in place for employees on long-term sick leave.
The research by Group Risk Development (Grid) found 32 per cent of employers don’t have a support plan in place for staff who are absent for more than six months owing to ill health, disability or injury.
The research suggests that half of these employers claim they can’t afford to provide this financial support and a third do not believe it is their responsibility.
A total of 15 per cent of employers said they fund financial support themselves rather than via a group risk policy.
Grid also surveyed employees, and found a quarter of them did not know whether their employer offers this financial support.
Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says: “It may seem counter-intuitive but employees who are offered financial support feel more valued and are therefore likely to return to work more quickly when they are able.
“Removing an employee’s source of income is by no means a motivator to get them back at their desk.“ She added that employers should not be advocating presenteeism either, with employees encouraged to return to work before they are ready.
Grid points out that the employee research indicates that 11 per cent say their employer does not provide any financial support, when the reality is it is a far higher proportion.
Grid says this could leave some employees vulnerable with people assuming they have financial protection that is not there, while others may be unaware of the benefits they do have.
Moxham adds: “Although some employers may believe that offering financial support, such as group income protection, is prohibitively expensive, in fact, it isn’t at all. The average cost is £313 per employee per year.
“Not only does it provide the employee with an income, and prevent unforeseen expenditure for the employer, it also supports the individual in returning to work, as group income protection policies typically come with a wealth of support for rehabilitation.”
She says that funding cases on an individual bases, rather than via insurance, can be problematic, not only because it is difficult to budget for, but there is the risk of creating inconsistencies in how staff are treated.
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