The overlooked perks of business protection that could be very useful right now

Many of your clients who are business owners will probably have some sort of employee benefits package in place. This may include a workplace pension, ‘death in service’ benefit or even income protection or critical illness insurance.

As well as these more common perks, business owners also have a choice of useful Employee Assistance Programs and Early Intervention Services. These provide valuable benefits designed to support the wellbeing of staff, so now is a great time for clients to think about incorporating them in a group benefits package.

What is an Early Intervention Service (EIS)?

Many of your clients may already provide a Group Income Protection (GIP) policy for their employees. A GIP is designed to ensure that an employee continues to receive a regular income if they cannot work for an extended period. As well as offering a useful benefit for employees, it is also a great tool for a business in terms of the recruitment and retention of staff.

However, many employers don’t realise that GIP policies provide far more than just a replacement salary for employees once they have been off work for a specified period.

During the period between an employee going off sick and an income payment starting – typically 13 or 26 weeks – insurers can offer a wide variety of Early Intervention Services to employers. These services work with both you and your employees to help them to return to work as quickly as possible.

The support an EIS can provide includes:

  • Access to specialist helplines often staffed by registered nurses
  • Access to rehabilitation consultants and advice
  • Support regarding a structured return to work if appropriate
  • Arranging for specific medical procedures for an employee.

What is an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)?

An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a benefit that business owners can fund in order to provide the following to employees:

  • Counselling
  • Practical advice and confidential information about both work and non-work-related issues
  • Medical guidance through confidential self-referral

EAP services are designed to support employees with day-to-day issues of health, wellbeing or safety. Staff can also access practical, legal, or financial advice from trusted independent experts.

An EAP can also support a business owner by supplying anonymous management information to help them identify and deal with workplace issues.

The ideal benefit in uncertain times

According to a recent study of 2,000 adults conducted by Healthspan, the average adult’s anxiety and stress levels has increased by almost 50% in recent weeks.

A separate survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation has concluded that almost a quarter of adults in the UK feel lonely amid the lockdown.

It’s clear that many workers are experiencing anxiety and worry during lockdown as they adapt to their changing circumstances. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that UK employers have increasingly focused on the wellbeing of their staff over the last two months.

“The pandemic is clearly having a major social and psychological impact on the whole population, increasing unemployment, separating families and various other changes in the way that we live that we know are generally major psychological risk factors for anxiety, depression and self-harm,” says Professor Ed Bullmore, head of the department of psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.

Services such as remote GP appointments, mental health support and counselling are accessible remotely through phone or video conferencing.

While these services offer useful additional support to workers at any time, they have taken on greater importance during the coronavirus crisis, given the number of employees who are now working remotely and isolated from the everyday support structure of their colleagues.

Employee benefits schemes that incorporate EAP and EIS can help business owners to support this focus on wellbeing. These services can provide valuable protection to employees and their families at times of extreme difficulty and are there to support workers during this period of heightened health and financial risk – and beyond.

Get in touch

We’re here to advise you and your clients on all aspects of financial planning – and that includes business protection.

If you have clients that would benefit from advice, or you’re interested in how you can work more closely with us, please get in touch. Email or call 01454 416 653.

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