More than a third (41%) of respondents would have to rely on their savings if they were forced out of work for any length of time due to illness or injury, according to research by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid).
Its Group risk employer research study, which surveyed 1,000 employees and 500 employers, found that a further 27% of employee respondents would have to rely on state benefits if they were forced out of work for any length of time.
Some 15% of employee respondents currently have their own insurance policy in place that would pay out in the event of ill health.
More than half (51%) of employer respondents provide group income protection for their employees.
Katharine Moxham (pictured), spokesperson for Grid, said: “Our research shows just how vital income protection benefits are to people who fall sick.
“Without provision in place they are obliged to dip into meagre savings and lean heavily on the state, which will not necessarily meet their financial needs.
“There is a small minority of individuals who protect themselves against long-term sick leave, but the majority appear to have unrealistic plans to survive financially.
“Group income protection is a hugely valued benefit and it works to help employees in many ways. The claim is a just small part of the benefit as the priority is to get people back to work as quickly as possible and in a sustainable way.”