GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector, has warned that many employers are falling foul of sick pay legislation instated last year. 

New research has revealed that one in two employers still need to comply with new legislation linked to sick pay which was introduced in 2020.

The Employment Rights (Employment Particulars and Paid Annual Leave) (Amendment) Regulations 2018, which came into force on 6 April 2020, mean employers are now compelled to tell their staff, on day one of employment or before, what their entitlement to any sick pay is.

However, many are failing to complete this entitlement. Almost three in 10 (28 per cent) are still reviewing their communications and protocols whilst one in 10 (10 per cent) are aware of this change but have not taken any action. 

A further 7 per cent admitted they were completely unaware of this change in legislation whilst 5 per cent were not sure how they would adapt to the new rules.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, stressed that this is a key way in which employers can support their staff during the crisis: 

Employers have had a lot on their plates over the last year, and we appreciate this is one more thing for them to think about.

However, many employers are looking to enhance their support for staff right now and this legislation helps create an opportunity to review that. And, as employees look to their employer to know what support is available, this is an opportunity to engage with them on exactly what that support looks like in practice.

At this current time, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) allows employees to receive £96.35 per week for up to 28 weeks. However, as this is the minimum allowance, employers are permitted to top up this amount.

The GRiD have further suggested that employers who do offer enhanced benefits including access to health and wellbeing specialists, early intervention and rehabilitation, and specialist therapies should emphasise this to their staff. 

Ms. Moxham further elaborates that this could help employers both attract and retain talent during a time where many are thinking of changing jobs:

Every employer will know the expense of recruitment, in terms of both time and resources, when staff leave for pastures new. This legislation means that those companies who truly value their employees and demonstrate that by supporting them when they are absent, are more likely to win the battle to recruit and importantly, retain, the best talent.

As recent research also showed that providing the correct benefits which match employee values will be crucial for retaining staff, Ms. Moxham said:

We know that employers don’t always fully understand the minutiae of the employee benefits that they offer, which makes it more difficult to communicate their importance to staff.

However, the employers who then find themselves falling short in comparison to competitors when it comes to providing enhanced absence support for employees have a binary choice: to improve their offering or explain to staff that they only offer the statutory minimum.

This comes after research showed a key factor which would help companies to retain staff entails showing care towards employees’ physical (40 per cent) and mental (39 per cent) wellbeing.