Friends Life highlights a lack of understanding of wellbeing benefits amongst employees


New research from Friends Life has found that 20% of UK employees do not understand what wellbeing benefits they are entitled to. This means schemes such as telephone help lines and health information may be going under-used, despite companies funding them. It also means many people will not appreciate that they may have a financial safety net. This could be through life cover if they died or income protection if they had to take an extended amount of time off work through illness. 

The figures from Friends Life also looked at the communication of wellbeing benefits from employer to employee. It found that less than half of workers (45%) rated their company as effective in telling them about the benefits that are available. Worryingly, almost 1 in 10 (8%) said there were no communications at all.

The research also found that only just over a quarter of workers (28%) are actually happy with their employer’s wellbeing services. 13% said they would rather their company spent money on increasing wages rather than benefits and 10% thought they would never use the benefits available to them.

David Williams, Director of Group Protection at Friends Life, comments:

“If employers are offering protection benefits like critical illness cover or income protection they should be shouting from the rooftops about it. These are incredibly valuable benefits that can help employees feel more secure knowing that they have some financial back up should the worst happen.

“We are all aware that people’s personal budgets have been squeezed in recent years so it’s understandable that some would prefer a pay rise over something like income protection. But this could, in part, come down to communication.

“Our research found that less than a third of employees are happy with the wellbeing package being offered to them. But if a large number of people don’t actually know what they’re entitled to, it’s not surprising their unhappy with it. If businesses improve the way they tell employees about the benefits that are available, we may well see staff awareness and appreciation of these benefits increase.”

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