EXCLUSIVE: Jelf research: Half of employers will offer voluntary benefits because of welfare reforms

Almost half (48%) of employers expect to offer more voluntary benefits as a result of government welfare reforms, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.

The survey, which was conducted in October among 169 small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), found that the reforms introduced in the Welfare Reform Bill 2011, may be the catalyst for a greater provision of employee-paid medical and income protection schemes.

The Welfare Reform Bill 2011 was introduced in Parliament on 16 February 2011.

Additional findings include:

  • 24% of employers at SMEs are more likely to support private medical insurance (PMI) provision as a result of changes to the NHS.
  • 70% believed their organisation would maintain its current levels of PMI provision.
  • 11% believe that their organisation would be more likely to provide group income protection for employees as a result of changes.
  • 79% would continue with current levels of group income protection.

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, said: “Employers are by no means immune from the impact of the government cutbacks on the individuals’ wellbeing.

“Increased absenteeism is one obvious consequence that employers will have to face, as well as duties to those on long-term sick leave.

“While an employer can win some fairly obvious brownie points from employees by having a wider choice of benefit options in place, it also shows that employers are willing and able to ensure that their business is protected.

“Ensuring that key staff return to work at the optimum time, not before they are ready but without huge delays, will be vital in keeping small businesses, and the economy heading in the right direction.”

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