POSTED: July 27 2021
Supporting employees in ill health

A fifth of staff do not know how their employer supports them in ill-health

People dealing with sickness and injury can face huge financial burdens; quite often these alone can be counter-productive to a fast recovery. According to new research from GRiD, a fifth (19%) of employees do not know how their employer would support them if they were absent through ill-health or injury.

The research also shows that 16% of employees think their employer provides no support, and 9% said they would only receive Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 per week.

It’s important for employers to look at what support they can offer and be aware of employee benefits that can support staff who are ill. What is equally important is that sickness policy is properly communicated to staff – as the research demonstrates, many are in the dark.

Alison Gill, HR Manager at advo said;

“Employers have to tell new employees about their sick pay entitlement by the first day of employment, but it is good practice for employers not to assume long-standing staff are fully informed.

It’s really important that all employees know exactly how employers will look after them, should they become ill or injured.

Effectively communicating this information is beneficial – it clearly demonstrates employer’s compassion for their team not only in the workplace, but in a broader sense too.”

While some employers offer the legal minimum support when employee’s  are absent through illness or injury, the research shows that many do go further:

  • 10% of employees say they would be given full pay for the first month, compared to 5% who are offered reduced pay for the same period.
  • 16% say they would be offered full pay for the first three months; with 4% offered reduced pay for the same period.
  • 20% would be offered full pay for up to six months; with 3% offered reduced pay for the same period.
  • 7% would be offered full pay for 12 months, with 4% offered reduced pay for the same period.
Alison Gill, HR Manager at advo said;

“It is likely that when taking time off for illness or injury, the majority of employee’s will want to return to work as soon as possible, usually within weeks or months.

“However, some employees, especially those suffering from ‘long covid’ or those who are severely ill are likely to have longer absences. Statutory Sick Pay is paid for up to 28 weeks and is unlikely to be adequate for longer periods of time.

“Ensuring there is provision for long term financial support is not a deterrent to the individual returning to work, contrary to what some employers may believe.

In fact, there is considerable research which demonstrates the opposite is true; an employee who feels supported by their employer is more likely to want to make a productive and timely return to the workplace.”


Financing support for ill or injured employees

Supporting staff on sick leave could easily become very expensive, particularly if each case is funded on an individual basis.

Group income protection (GIP) allows an employer to insure against this risk; which is one of the most affordable ways to support staff.

Typically, GIP can cost an employer around 1% of payroll, which will give a sick or injured employee financial security for a specified time. While traditionally this may have been up to retirement age, employers can consider a limited term policy, which will pay out for a set amount of time, such as 5 years, according to the employer’s preference and budget. According to Swiss Re Group Watch data, the average employer spend on GIP in 2020 was just £313 per employee.

Company culture is becoming an increasingly significant factor for employees when deciding where to apply for a new job. When employees feel like they are looked after, they are much more likely to be better advocates for the organisation, which in turn enhances organisational reputation.

In light of the expected ‘Great Resignation’, attracting and retaining talent is likely to become more important than ever. If you feel your organisation could benefit from hr advice, a group income protection policy, or additional employee benefits, talk to us today.