Employers are being encouraged to make the most of support which is available through employee benefits to help injured or newly ill employees.
Group Risk Development (Grid) has found that while more than four in five (82%) employers claim to use at least one support mechanism to mitigate absence in this situation, use of some of these is low.
The industry body for the group risk sector is therefore urging employers to take advantage of what is available, particularly when there is a new illness or injury, to help staff with their physical and emotional wellbeing at this key time.
Carried out among more than 500 HR decision-makers in the UK, the research further showed that more than one in 10 (12%) of organisations do not have any existing support mechanisms for employees who are ill or newly injured, either because they don’t have the budget for it or because they don’t believe it is their responsibility.
Of those surveyed, 18% of organisations provide access to a virtual GP, 15% have an employee assistance programme, 13% offer physio support and 12% offer practical help, such as access to a rehabilitation specialist. Just one in 10 (10%) offer a second medical opinion service and only 8% provide access to medical specialists.
According to Grid, many of the under-utilised mechanisms are available either independently or within employee benefits – such as group life assurance, group income protection and group critical illness – which suggests employers may not fully understand the range of services they are able to access.
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.”