Two out of three EBCs think benefit improvements are needed, research finds
More than half of employee benefits consultants (EBCs) believe group risk providers should address the protection gaps encountered gig economy workers and the self-employed, research from MetLife UK has revealed.
The study found that 54% of EBCs believe work patterns are a significant growth area due to the fact that the protection needs of millions are currently not being met.
Government figures estimate that more than 7.6 million are currently self-employed or working in the gig economy, where they are paid for short-term employment via digital platforms - around 4.8 million are self-employed, with 2.8 million in the gig economy, figures suggest.
However, the MetLife research indicates that not enough of these people would be sufficiently supported should they fall ill or face injury, with 67% of EBCs believing that benefit communications from providers have to be enhanced and segmented for different age groups to ensure employees are aware of benefits and understand how they work.
Meanwhile, 57% of EBCs said they would support legislation to extend workplace pensions auto-enrolment or group life assurance to cover self-employed earning above a certain income.
"Changes in the world of work are reshaping how companies operate and that needs to be reflected by the group risk industry," said Adrian Matthews, employees benefits director, MetLife UK.
"One key area that could be addressed is people employed on permanent contracts who are facing modern-day challenges that are very different to the working environment when traditional benefits products were conceived.
"Benefits should form a core element of an employer's value proposition and can be powerful in attracting and retaining employees," added Matthews. "But employers need support in communicating the benefits they offer and providers and advisers can help them, making benefits communications part of everyday working lives and not just a once a year event."
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