Employers not fully using support mechanisms when staff suffer a new injury or illness

Press release 13 June 2023.

Although over four in five employers (82%) say they use one or more support mechanisms aimed at mitigating absence when a member of their staff has an injury or new illness/disability, this disguises the fact that the utilisation of some useful mechanisms for this situation is comparatively low. That is according to new research1 from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector.

GRiD also believes that employers should be making more use of the support embedded into employee benefits than they are currently doing, particularly in the event of a new illness or injury, as supporting individuals both physically and emotionally is key at this time.

GRiD’s research also found that 12% of employers do not have support mechanisms in place for newly injured or ill staff at all, either because they say they can’t afford it or because they don’t feel it is their responsibility.

Under-utilised support mechanisms for staff following an injury or new illness/disability:

  • 18% of employers say they offer access to a virtual GP.
  • 15% of employers say they offer access to an Employee Assistance Programme.
  • Only 13% offer physio support for employees.
  • 12% offer access to practical support, such as a rehabilitation specialist.
  • 10% offer access to a second medical opinion.
  • Just 8% offer access to medical specialists such as oncologists.

Many of these under-utilised types of support are widely accessible either on a standalone basis or embedded within employee benefits, including widely within group life assurance, group income protection and group critical illness, so the fact that employers are not stating that they are being deployed raises the question as to whether employers fully understand the depth and breadth of the extra services they have access to.

For example, employee assistance programmes (EAPs) and virtual GPs, frequently available as part of other benefits are designed for in-the-moment support to help employees. With only a small proportion of organisations deploying these mechanisms, many newly ill staff will be missing out on help.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “The research results paint a picture that many employers could do more to support newly ill staff.

“Helping staff understand support is available, and ensuring it is utilised during times of need including ill health, not only supports the individuals but also sends a message to the broader staff community who will see their colleagues benefitting.”

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  1. The research was undertaken by Opinium from 9-22 January 2023 among 503 HR decision-makers at UK businesses.

For further information please contact:

Ali Cort

SMUK Marketing and PR


Mob:    07887484247

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 well-being 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