Employers are failing to provide adequate employee benefits for those most vulnerable within their workforces, a new study has shown.
Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) data – which surveyed 17,500-plus individuals in 16 markets globally, including more than 1,000 in the UK – found that lower earners and working carers had disproportionately less access to workplace perks.
The employee benefits consultant’s Health on Demand 2023 report revealed that people with salaries of less than the median UK wage are only half as likely to utilise workplace benefits compared to those on higher pay rates.
Of those earning below the median amount, 45% don’t have access to any employee benefits, compared to a quarter (25%) of those above this pay rate. Additionally, a third (32%) of all UK workers surveyed have no employer-funded benefits at all, compared to 23% globally.
Nicholas McMenemy, partner, digital, strategy and markets leader at Mercer Marsh Benefits, said: “MMB’s report makes it clear that more can be done in supporting all areas of the workforce, as 32% of UK employees surveyed say they have no access to any benefits sponsored by their employer.
“The need for employers to take a values-based approach to their benefits strategies is emphasised by so many respondents, that are low-earners or have caring responsibilities, feeling that they are not fully supported at work.
“Work-related commitments such as embedding wellbeing in job design and taking action on issues such as living wages and social justice are a central issue. This means giving employees confidence that they can afford the healthcare that they and their families need and have access to benefits that are relevant to them.”
Among those surveyed, half (51%) said they are caregivers and 93% of these respondents believe they are in danger of burnout. The top three causes of this were cited as work pressures by 61%, followed by poor leadership and a toxic culture, identified by 43% and 42% respectively.
Highlighting the importance of offering a wide range of benefits, Hervé Balzano, president, health, Mercer and global leader for Mercer Marsh Benefits, added: “The findings from Health on Demand clearly show that by providing comprehensive benefits, employers can address these risks, protect their employees and ultimately create a foundation for them to thrive at work and beyond.”