Employee benefits packages, which usually include Group Risk benefits, play an important role in helping support employee health and wellbeing. That is one of the conclusions made by the government in response to its 2019 consultation on how to reduce ill-health related job loss.
The consultation, titled Health is Everyone’s Business, outlined how being in work can help raise living standards, move people out of poverty and help reduce health inequalities. One of the areas it specifically recognised was the important role played by Group Income Protection in helping employees remain in, or return to work.
The government said insurance products are “a valuable source of support”, providing “a financial benefit if an employee is unable to work due to illness or injury”.
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In its consultation response the government said it will work with the insurance industry to improve awareness among employers and self-employed people of the benefits to workers’ health and wellbeing that protection policies can afford.
The government said it welcomed the development of a ‘consensus statement', an idea by industry body Group Risk Development (GRiD) that would aim to improve employer guidance and awareness of the link between good work and good health, and promote the use of expert-led support services.
Speaking about the government’s consultation response, GRiD spokesperson Katharine Moxham said: “GRiD strongly supports the aims of reducing sickness absence and ill-health-related job loss and is pleased that the role of income protection insurance has been recognised in supporting this.”
Traditional occupational health services, she said, are not the only solutions available to employers. The types of services that are often included under a Group Income Protection policy are now being recognised for the role they can play in supporting occupational health.
She also highlighted the important role of the workplace in maintaining good employee health, dealing with ill health at an early stage and supporting staff to remain in work.
Simon Hodgson, head of public policy at Unum, said: “This endorsement of group income protection is brilliant news for the industry, and comes after years of dedicated hard work by providers and advisers”.
He added that GIP provides not just a financial benefit should an employee find themselves unable to work due to illness or injury, but can also help employers of all sizes promote good workplace health.
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The fact that the government has recognised the role Group Risk products can play in supporting employee health and wellbeing is a huge step forward for the industry.
The peace of mind, financial support and value-add services provided under Group Risk policies can be invaluable should an employee find themselves unable to work due to an illness or injury.
By offering such policies, employers can go some way towards fulfilling their duty of care to the employees and show they care about their staff.