GRiD research: a quarter of employers do not financially support their long-term absent employees  

Press release 3 November 2021.

A quarter of employers do not financially support their employees when they are long-term absent from work according to research1 from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector. For most employees, remuneration is the primary reason they work, and GRiD believes that it’s important for employers to consider how they can financially support absent staff at a time when they need it most.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “We know that meaningful work provides a number of benefits, including a sense of purpose and fulfilment and social interaction, but fundamentally, we also know that most people are compelled to work to earn a living. Many households have no savings at all and would struggle to pay their mortgage, rent or meet other financial commitments within weeks or months if they were unable to bring home a salary. 

“Employers really need to think about whether they want to be the type of organisation that does or doesn’t help their employees financially when they are absent over the long term. It’s not just a case of doing what’s right for existing staff but demonstrating how employees are valued is important in attracting future talent too.”

Staff will find out their entitlement to financial support earlier than before

The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378) means that all staff now need to be told on day one of employment or before, what their entitlement to sick pay is, which means that employers who only offer Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or other basic provision will be exposed.

Moxham said: “By supporting staff financially when absent long-term, an employer is recognising that the individual is a person first and an employee second. That individual will have out-of-work practical, emotional and financial responsibilities which can quickly mount up when they are unable to work through illness, injury or disability. Providing financial security for staff is not simply about the payment in itself but it’s about demonstrating an understanding of an employee’s homelife and showing care and compassion for them as a person. Employers need to understand that when a salary leaves their business account it is more than just a number: in the hands of an employee, it covers a child’s place at nursery; enables car maintenance; pays energy and credit card bills; and puts food on the table – funding the day-to-day lives of a family or household.

“When it’s considered in these terms, it’s hard to believe that any employer would not want to support their staff financially if they were unable to work through ill-health, injury or disability.”

Affordability is the main reason for not financially supporting staff in the long term

Fifty-nine per cent of those employers who do not provide financial support for long-term absent staff, say they cannot afford to do so. GRiD believes this is probably because they have concerns about funding staff in full on a case-by case basis. However, on average, for £300 per employee2, group income protection can provide cover for all staff.

Moxham concluded: “Although GRiD’s research indicates that a quarter of employers aren’t supporting their staff financially during long-term sickness absence, market data indicates that this number could be much higher. So in practice even more employers may be missing a trick by not taking advantage of group income protection insurance so that they don’t have to fund the full costs themselves and know that all employees are treated equally.”

  • Ends –

Notes to editors:

  1. The research was undertaken by Opinium during January 2021 among 505 HR decision makers at UK businesses.
  2. Swiss Re Group Watch 2021

For further information please contact:

Sharon Mason 
SMUK Marketing and PR 
Mob: 07747 611773
Land: 01252 843350

Katharine Moxham
Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508

Notes for editors

About GRiD

Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Paul White (head of technical, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.

GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry’s standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.

GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees.

GRiD’s dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues.

Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham