Financial worries force employees to put health at risk

The majority of UK employees (78%) would be prepared to jeopardise their health by returning to work from long-term sickness absence before they are fully fit, according to a report from Aviva UK Health.

The study revealed that money worries and job security are major factors in people rushing back to their desks.

The Early intervention report found that 68% of respondents cite family finances as their key concern while on sick leave, and 49% would return early if they thought their family couldn’t cope. A further 11% claimed that fear of losing their job would hasten their return to work.

The study also revealed that 79% of employees felt they could not survive on less than half salary, but just 40% of employers offer this level of financial support.

Kevin Murdoch, senior proposition development manager, Aviva UK Health, commented: “Long-term sickness can have a major impact on an individual and their family. In fact the knock-on effects in terms of increased stress and financial worries can at times be as hard to cope with as the actual condition itself – particularly if the breadwinner is affected.

“The disturbing findings in our survey highlight just how poorly equipped to survive a period of long-term absence many of us are and how this can lead us to make decisions we might live to regret.”

Read more articles on healthcare and wellbeing