Press release 27 April 2021.
One in two employers still need to comply with legislation introduced last year on sick pay, according to research* undertaken on behalf of GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector.
The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378), which came into force on 6 April 2020**, mean employers are now compelled to tell their staff, on day one of employment or before, what their entitlement to any sick pay is. However, GRiD’s research reveals that many are still reviewing their communications and protocols (28%), some are aware but haven’t taken any action (10%), some are completely unaware of the change (7%) and 5% weren’t sure how they’d adapted to the new legislation.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “Employers have had a lot on their plates over the last year, and we appreciate this is one more thing for them to think about. However, many employers are looking to enhance their support for staff right now and this legislation helps create an opportunity to review that. And, as employees look to their employer to know what support is available, this is an opportunity to engage with them on exactly what that support looks like in practice.”
Employers who have not complied with the legislation are not only breaking the law but they are fundamentally missing a trick, according to GRiD. The organisation believes this is an opportunity to let staff know how employers are going to look after them should they be off work with sickness or injury, an issue that has been particularly highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many employees often assume that their employer will look after them if they’re unable to work but in fact they may only offer Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 a week for up to 28 weeks. That understanding may have come too late for some staff during the pandemic but employers who do go the extra mile by providing full support, including access to health and wellbeing specialists, early intervention and rehabilitation, and specialist therapies, should be using this as a chance to differentiate themselves.
Katharine Moxham continued: “Every employer will know the expense of recruitment, in terms of both time and resources, when staff leave for pastures new. This legislation means that those companies who truly value their employees and demonstrate that by supporting them when they are absent, are more likely to win the battle to recruit and importantly, retain, the best talent.”
Moxham also believes the legislation is an opportunity for all employers to review their employee benefits communication strategy. Moxham concluded: “We know that employers don’t always fully understand the minutiae of the employee benefits that they offer, which makes it more difficult to communicate their importance to staff. However, the employers who then find themselves falling short in comparison to competitors when it comes to providing enhanced absence support for employees have a binary choice: to improve their offering or explain to staff that they only offer the statutory minimum.”
GRiD has recently worked with the ABI to launch an employer toolkit aimed at helping employers to comply with the Good Work Plan requirement for day one statements and encouraging SMEs to promote employee health and wellbeing.
Providing support for employees during their absence is effective and inexpensive via group risk products (employer-sponsored income protection, life assurance and critical illness), particularly group income protection (GIP). Through a GIP policy, not only is the employee assisted - financially, emotionally and practically - but many insurers also support the employer by liaising with both parties to facilitate a successful return to work, to help the employer understand any reasonable adjustments that could be made, and by providing support for line managers to appreciate the individual’s situation. Providing comprehensive sickness support is not just about complying with the law – it's about doing the best for staff and the business as a whole too.
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Notes to editors:
*The research was undertaken by Opinium during January 2021 among 505 HR decision makers at UK businesses.
** The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/1378)
Following the Taylor Review, legislative changes under the government’s Good Work Plan came into force in April 2020. This means that employers must give employees access to a written statement of various particulars of their employment on day one or before and, amongst other things, this now needs to include their entitlement to sick pay.
For further information please contact:
SMUK Marketing and PR
Mob: 07747 611773
Land: 01252 843350
Spokesperson for GRiD
Mob: 07887 512508
Notes for editors
Group Risk Development (GRiD) is the industry body for the group risk sector, promoting the value to UK businesses of providing financial protection for their staff, enhancing their wellbeing and improving employee engagement. Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers, intermediaries and those operating in (or with other interests in) the UK group risk market. Together this forms a collective wealth of experience built over many years. Under the chairmanship of Paul White (head of technical, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing) GRiD aims to promote group risk through a collective voice to Government, policymakers, stakeholders and employers.
GRiD works with government departments and regulators involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits, and with other organisations involved in the benefits and financial protection arenas. GRiD also seeks to enhance the industry's standing by encouraging best practice and by participating in industry-wide initiatives such as the professional qualification in group risk managed jointly with the Chartered Insurance Institute.
GRiD’s media activity aims to generate a wider awareness and understanding of group risk products and their benefits for employers and employees.
GRiD's dedicated spokesperson, Katharine Moxham, provides expert media comment on a full range of group risk issues.
Follow Katharine Moxham on Twitter @KMoxham