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EMPLOYEE PROTECTION

Why do you need to think about employee protection?

People are living longer, and the working population is getting older with declining health.1 This brings challenges for employers. Absent employees costs UK companies approximately £9 billion each year2 with employees taking on average 6.9 days sickness absence per annum.3

This is combined with continuing welfare reform, where more emphasis is being placed on employers to financially support their employees.

  • Prevent – Intervene - Protect
    We help you consider all options available before providing the best mix of services to meet your specific requirements.
  • Find the right balance
    Change your approach from the security of protection, to prevention, and you can better mitigate risk whilst reducing your direct and indirect costs.
  • Highly valued; low cost benefits
    Employee protection cover not only can be cost-effective, but can also deliver valued benefits to your employees and their families at a time when they need it most.

How our employee benefits consultants can help

As every client is different, your wellbeing requirements will be too. Our dedicated employee benefits team discuss and agree the most appropriate blend of products and services that provide the best fit for your objectives.

1. CIPD 2012
2. Office for National Statistics 2015
3. MetLife UK Employee Benefit Trends Survey 2017

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Prioritising workplace wellbeing not only looks after your staff, it can look after your business as well. Read our in-depth employers guide to workplace wellbeing strategy.

Group income protection

Covers your staff’s income if they are unable to work for extended periods.

Group critical illness cover

Ease the financial burden on your employees and their family if they suffer a critical illness.

Group life insurance

Often referred to as ‘death-in-service’, it provides benefits to your employees’ beneficiaries should the worst happen.

Occupational health

Put in place services, controls and measures to get your people back to work in a suitable role as quickly as possible.

Employee assistance programmes

Employee assistance programmes (EAP) can deliver support to help maintain the emotional wellbeing of your employees. They provide a qualified counselling service to help contain problems and prevent them spiralling out of control.

Excepted group life insurance schemes

Did you know that death benefits from a group life insurance scheme count towards your employees' lifetime allowance? Find out how an excepted group life scheme can help.

Maximise add-on services

Many policies offer additional features that may strengthen your employees’ health and wellbeing offering, so it is worthwhile understanding exactly what your policies will provide – we can help you with this. For example, they may provide you with early intervention support services to work with affected employees, to help secure an earlier return to work.

Communicate the benefits

Research suggests that only 39% of employees think their company effectively communicates and educates them about their employee benefits.3 So, it’s vital that you get to grips with creating and implementing effective communication programmes. We can help you to design a communication strategy to achieve this.

Frequently asked questions

Q
Why do I need to think about employee protection?
A

People are living longer, and the working population is getting older with declining health.1 This brings challenges for employers. Absent employees costs UK companies approximately £9bn each year2 with employees taking on average 6.9 days sickness absence per annum.3

This is combined with continuing welfare reform, where more emphasis is being placed on employers to financially support their employees. Employee protection cover can not only be cost-effective, but can also deliver valued benefits to your employees and their families at a time when they need it most. So perhaps the real question is ‘can you afford not to?’

1 CIPD
2 Office for National Statistics
3 MetLife UK Employee Benefit Trends Survey 2017


Q
What is employee protection?
A

‘Employee protection’, ‘group protection’ or ‘group risk’ – they all mean the same thing and it can form a vital part of your overall benefits package. There are many different employee protection products that can be invaluable in providing financial, practical or emotional support in the event of ill health or death. These include:

  • Group life insurance
    Historically referred to as ‘death-in-service’, it provides benefits to your employees’ beneficiaries should the worst happen.
  • Group income protection
    Covers your staff’s income if they are unable to work for extended periods. They often offer early intervention support and rehabilitation to work services to support you and your staff prior to sickness leave.
  • Group critical illness cover
    Eases the financial burden on your employees and their family if they suffer a critical illness.

Many policies offer additional services that may strengthen your employees’ health and wellbeing offering, such as occupational health services and employee assistance programmes, that can help support your staff, your HR team and the business generally, and secure an earlier return to work.


Q
How is welfare reform going to impact our benefits?
A
In short, the method by which an employee can access state incapacity support, and the duration over which any such benefit may be payable, is changing, shifting more responsibility on employers to support their employees with benefits such as group income protection. This means that if scheme benefit designs remain unaltered, the actual benefit payable to employees during long term absence is likely to reduce. 

Each insurer is taking a slightly different stance to how they allow for these changes in state benefits, and part of our role with our clients is to help you understand the options available, and any impact on premiums as a result.
Q
What staff benefits scheme design is most common?
A
For group income protection schemes, the most common design still tends to be benefits payable at two-thirds or 75% of salary, less a deduction for state benefits, with a 26 week wait before payments begin. This benefit is typically payable until the age set on the scheme.  As peoples' retirement plans change, it is important to frequently review the cease age set to ensure it is still fit for purpose. We are working with our clients to challenge this “standard”, looking at options such as limited payment terms, and moving to a flat percentage of salary given welfare reform changes.

For group life insurance the most common level of cover remains at 4x salary, but again we will work with you to understand what would be valued by employees, and what may be needed in terms of benchmarking against your peers.
Q
What is an employee assistance programme?
A
An employee assistance programme (EAP) is designed to help employees deal with personal and/or work related problems that might impact their work performance, health and wellbeing (emotional or financial). It provides a qualified counselling service to help contain problems and prevent them spiralling out of control. It can include telephone support and in some circumstances face to face support can also be provided. Please note some policies have an EAP embedded as part of the core cover.
Q
Why should we keep paying an income protection policy when we have seen no claims?
A
We are often posed this question by our clients. Why keep paying for a group income protection scheme for example, if we have not made a claim for a number of years? The first factor to consider is the size of the insured population. If you have a relatively low headcount, you would not be expecting to see a large claims volume, as typically we expect between 1 and 2 claims per 1,000 lives insured per year.

The other key element here is to understand and communicate the additional support and benefits that can be accessed by working closely with your selected providers. This may include additional benefit offerings such as employee assistance programmes (EAPs), to engaging with insurers on short term absences to gain their support and expertise in preventing any longer term issues. The ultimate aim of an income protection scheme for all parties concerned is to have as few absences as possible reach claim stage. Insurers have case studies and examples that we can bring to you, demonstrating the financial and practical impacts. Jelf will help you to structure your benefits programme to ensure you are able to gain access to the support needed.