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Mind the gap - are SME employees sufficiently protected?

Doug Rice
Doug leads the employee benefits consultancy team at Jelf, specifically focusing on meeting the rising demand for effective UK and international employee benefits management programmes. In addition, he heads up the international Mercer Marsh Benefits team and is Chair of the Jelf & MMB joint venture. Doug has over 20 years’ experience in the employee benefits sector, having previously worked for Medic4all, Cigna and Bupa.

New research from MetLife UK reveals that 63% of SME bosses, of companies employing between 50 and 300 staff, worry their staff face a benefits protection gap in comparison with workers at larger firms.1

Do employers really need to be worried?

Well yes. People are living longer, and the working population is getting older with declining health.2 Continuing welfare reform also puts more emphasis on employers to financially support their employees.

Employee protection can provide valued benefits to employees and their families at a time when they need it most.

Highly valued; low cost benefits

There is a growing recognition of the value of benefits like group life and group income protection, with 69% of SME senior managers believing they have a duty to provide benefits beyond pensions.1

However around one in ten say that they are unable to provide benefits beyond workplace pensions, with lack of budget being the main reason why.1

The perception that benefits packages are too expensive is not true. In fact, group life insurance can cost as little as 0.3% of payroll and group income protection 0.5%.

Popular SME benefits

According to the results of MetLife UK’s survey, these are the benefits that are provided by SMEs:

Winning the war for talent

Your employees are your most important asset, so it’s not surprising that employers focus on the recruitment and retention of talent. In fact, businesses with engaged employees enjoy 87% less staff turnover and people take fewer sick days. This means less money spent on recruitment and less time lost through absence.3

Pay alone usually has a limited effect on employee satisfaction. The right benefits reward programme can help you better mitigate your risks whilst reducing your direct and indirect costs, and ultimately drive productivity. Closing the protection gap for employees is a mutually beneficial measure ensuring that the business and employees have a sense of security. 

1 MetLife UK March 2018
2 CIPD 2012
3 Mercer, Why good health is good business
Marketing communication FP18.645

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