Protection benefits uptake remains low for small-to-medium-sized businesses
Almost half (44%) of SME employers believe long-term sickness for a key employee would have a significant - or even critical (24%) - impact of the welfare of their business, research by the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Unum has shown.
More than half (55%), meanwhile, said they would do everything within their power to assist a member of staff back to work following a period of illness.
Despite this, the take up of protection benefits remains low, with only 8% of the 1000 UK businesses surveyed (91% were SMEs) offering income protection to their staff. More included life insurance (22%) as a benefit and just 9% offered critical illness cover, while 22% said they provide no protection products at all to employees.
Peter O'Donnell, CEO, Unum UK, said: "Illness and long-term sickness absence can have a serious impact on individuals and their families as well as to businesses of all sizes and across every sector. At Unum, we want to help businesses of all sizes put in place the necessary services and products to enable them to manage this effectively.
"As evidenced in the recent government consultation - ‘Health is everyone's business' - the government is also placing greater importance on the role of employers in keeping people in work. Good employers want to support employees when they are unwell as our research shows, and making our services more modern and helping them better understand how products like group income protection can help, is an important place to start."
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