London, UK (PRWEB) August 14, 2012
• Just one in five (20%) employers feels equipped to help employees back to work following illness
New research from Aviva reveals that just one in five (20%) employers feel equipped to offer their employees rehabilitation support. This comes at a time when an increased onus is being placed on employers to help employees return to work following illness.
Nearly a quarter (22%) say that they don’t have the resource or expertise to manage people back into the workplace effectively. 25% would worry that they’d have to carry on paying sick pay.
To help address this situation, a significant 43% of employers say that they think that people should be auto-enrolled onto a scheme that gives them financial protection in the event of long-term sickness absence. Around one in five (17%) of employers say that they are already considering taking out group income protection.
The research also reveals a worrying lack of awareness employers have regarding the state support available to employees who are unable to work due to long-term illness.
Over half of employers (63%) admit that they don’t know how much benefit is paid through Employment and Support Allowance. Moreover, nearly three quarters (72%), didn’t know that people in the work related activity group could find that their entitlement to ESA stops after a year if they are considered capable of returning to work. Just one in ten (11%) employers had reviewed their sick-pay arrangements following the welfare reform changes.
Employers were also unaware of the impact the new state benefits approach could have on employees with conditions such as cancer, MS and mental health issues which can present different levels of severity at different times. This means that people with conditions such as these could find themselves in the work-related group and with limited financial support.
When the situation was explained; just over a third (38%) of employers felt that it’s a good idea to have a different approach for different conditions. However, a quarter of employers (24%) recognised the potential impact this could have on their employees saying that they’d worry that employees would be forced back into the workforce when they are not well enough to work. One in five (22%) felt that it will be very difficult to have the correct measures in place to decide whether a person is fit for work.
Steve Bridger, head of group risk, Aviva says:
“We are encouraged to see that so many employers recognise the benefit of auto-enrolling employees onto a scheme that gives them financial protection if they are unable to work due to long-term illness.
“Our research reveals a concerning lack of awareness amongst employers about the State support available to employees who are unable to work as a result of an illness or injury.
“At Aviva we’re working hard to uncover information gaps such as this and offer the right educational support and corporate benefit solutions to help employers address the issues both now and in the future.”