More than one in five British businesses (22%) lack the expertise to manage sickness absence effectively, a poll suggests with smaller businesses particularly vulnerable.
The YouGov survey of financial decision makers, commissioned by Zurich, found those working for medium sized businesses (50 to 249 employees) were over twice as likely (29%) to admit they do not feel they have the right skills to manage their employee’s ill-health effectively, compared to 14% of larger firms and 22% of small businesses. This is despite the fact that employee absence is estimated to cost the UK economy around £18bn per year in terms of lost productivity.
Just 15% said they provided group income protection (GIP) for their employees, with larger businesses nearly twice as likely to do so as medium sized businesses (45% v 23%).
Just 8% of smaller enterprises (with less than 50 employees) offer GIP.
Nick Homer, Zurich’s head of market management for group risk, said the findings highlight the vulnerability of smaller businesses and their employees. “We know from experience that absent employees who have access to support via their workplace GIP arrangement return to work more successfully and quicker than those who don’t, with many having benefitted from specialist support and treatment that they may struggle to access via the NHS,” he said.
When respondents were asked how much they thought GIP would cost per year as a percentage of annual salary roll, over 40% had no idea while 21% thought this would equate to over 3%. In reality, the cost is closer to 1% of annual payroll.
This article was first published in HI Daily. You can see the original article here.