Despite the recession, employers are continuing to protect their staff with competitive benefits packages.

81% of employers provide sick pay above the statutory entitlement, finds new research from Unum and Personnel Today. Furthermore, 67% continue to pay their employees something for up to 1 year, even when statutory requirements have stopped. But just 12% will support their staff for longer than that.

The research, conducted with HR professionals across UK businesses, also found that 88% of employers rate providing sick pay above statutory entitlement as fairly or very important. If you are unable to work due to illness or injury your employer is required to pay Statutory Sick Pay of £81.60 per week for the first six months – but as the research shows, many are going above and beyond to either supplement this or extend the length of time.

If an employee is still unable to work after 6 months, they move onto Employment and Support Allowance which is £4,901 per annum as a minimum, unless they’re among the lucky 40% of employees whose company supplements this.

The research revealed that despite the recession, employers are continuing to look after their staff.

·         79% offer death in service or life insurance

·         61% provide Private Medical Insurance

·         55% still operate bonus schemes

·         34% offer a car allowance

·         70% provide childcare vouchers

Over a third (36%) say they offer as many employee benefits as they can with half (49%) reviewing employee benefits packages annually, and a further 1 in 5 reviewing packages more frequently.

Jack McGarry, CEO of Unum UK says: “As a responsible employer, you want to ensure you’re protecting your staff – and the research shows that the majority of employers take their duty of care seriously. However, budgets are being increasingly scrutinised in this uncertain economic climate, so it’s vital that you’re spending your money on benefits wisely, protecting both yourself and your employees.

“We believe that benefits packages need to be reviewed and rebalanced. Over three-quarters of employers provide death in service/life assurance to their employees. However, employees are 3 times more likely to be unable to work due to illness or injury, than to die during their working lives. Despite this, just 1 in 10 employees are covered by Income Protection, which pays up to 80% of a sick employee’s salary until they return to work or retire. Rebalancing your benefits to include a basic policy, such as a Foundation level of Income Protection cover, could mean a higher number of staff are covered at no additional cost to you.”