70% of employers feel responsible for looking after employees’ health

employees’ health responsibilityNearly three-quarters (70%) of HR decision makers feel a greater responsibility to look after their employees’ health due to NHS waiting times, according to research by healthcare provider Simplyhealth.

Its survey of 2,000 employees and 500 HR decision makers also found that the healthcare (45%) and education sectors (43%) were the most likely to see a rising number of sick days, followed by manufacturing (35%). This sector was more likely to offer health plans (45%) and medical insurance (64%) to staff than education and healthcare employers, which were more likely to provide basic occupational healthcare.

Staff took the most time off work for mental health and musculoskeletal issues, at 5.8 and 5.7 days respectively in the past year, while 72% think their employer should take greater responsibility for their health at work. Half (52%) of employee respondents said they would not need to take as much leave if they had a form of health cover.

Currently, only 60% of said they have access to health cover. A majority (81%) of employer respondents that do offer this would like to help employees avoid preventable health conditions, while 57% who do not offer it are considering it, but worry about the expense.

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Of employees who have access to a health plan, 60% said it is the most valuable benefit on offer to them and 52% say this benefit is what attracted them to join their organisation. Nearly three-quarters (72%) said it incentivises them to stay with their current employer and 67% would worry about changing jobs in case their new employer did not offer health cover.

Paul Schreier, chief executive officer at Simplyhealth, said: “With sick days on the rise, and significant NHS waiting times, businesses are turning to private health cover so their staff can be seen quickly and stay healthy at work. It also helps them to attract and retain employees, reducing the financial burden of recruitment. With the costs of private medical insurance going up, businesses are attracted to more affordable solutions that offer options to select the exact health services needed.”