Every now and then, an opportunity comes along for our industry to show off what we can do. One such opportunity is coming along in April. Advisers should be embracing it if customers are to get the very best value from their policies. Our industry works hard to provide support services customers can use day to day to benefit their business. This is when that work pays off.
In December 2018 the government published its proposals to progress some of the recommendations in the Good Work Plan. The proposals came from Matthew Taylor’s July 2017 report on issues in our labour market. These included the implications of new forms of work, the rise of digital platforms and the impact of new working models.
The review made 53 recommendations, and the government accepted the majority of them. Work started to put them in place in December 2018. In 2019, the government introduced various pieces of legislation with provisions for implementing some proposals.
The right to a statement detailing employment terms and rights is being extended. Two things will change after April 6th 2020: more people will be eligible for them and they will need to available as soon as employment starts. Only people classified as employees and whose employment lasts more than a month need a statement at the moment. After April 6th, people classified as workers will be eligible as well, and the statements need to be available from day one. “Workers” are people whose employment is generally more casual. They usually have a “contract for services” and fewer rights than employees. Some workplaces may find themselves needing to provide many more of these statements.
Most businesses should be offering these statements to their staff anyway. There is an opportunity for benefits advisers to step in though. Organisations can renew these as a positive, whole of workforce touchpoint. They could also send them yearly as part of a broader benefit communication strategy.
The statement should include details of the contract, benefits and sick pay provisions. What an opportunity for us to shine! The products we offer, and the broad range of support services they include, will find a natural home here. Most organisations will be looking for simple compliance as a first step. How can advisers help their customers achieve this and save them money?
Group insurance already offers support services which can produce compliant documents and provide legal support. Our version is called BusinessCare. It has had the facilities in place to produce a written statement of terms for decades. That expertise, refined over years, could lead to significant savings for customers. The online document creation tool is intuitive and a team of legal experts is available on a helpline during working hours. These sorts of tools can create most material needed to follow legislation. Experts in various areas of employment law can then review them. BusinessCare and similar services from other providers put the power of a law firm in HR’s hands.
Any organisation using these online tools will be amazed at what they can do without needing to outsource or pay legal fees. Employers using the system, especially SMEs, should want to formalise other parts of their HR and legal processes. These could include employment contracts, staff handbooks, parental leave policies and so on. Is this update to the employment landscape a chance to encourage customers to engage with the service? Could it further cement the value of their group insurance policies in their minds?
SMEs often struggle to keep up with legislative changes like these. They lack resources dedicated to scanning the legislative horizon. And why wouldn’t they? Keeping up with employment law is not the main reason most people start businesses, after all. Advisers may also draw attention to services that keep SMEs up to date across their entire business, not only with what is coming in April.
Offering ‘no cost compliance’ in an easy-to- use format should not be overlooked. Users can see their documentation taking shape before their eyes. Help is never more than a phone call away. We want customers to appreciate the savings they make when they engage with the tools they have. It gives them a foot in the door which we hope will encourage them to continue to use the legal support at their convenience. Organisations with group insurance policies get it anyway.