Employees lack guidance in sickness support

A fifth (19%) of UK employees do not know how their employer would support them if they had to take time off work due to ill-health or an injury.

Research from GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, found 16% also think that their employer would provide them with no support and 9% said they would only receive Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 per week.

Katharine Moxham, a spokesperson for GRiD, told HR magazine employers should know how they will support staff who are ill, and it is important they communicate this to all staff.

She said: “Not only do employers now have to tell new employees about their sick pay entitlement by day one of employment, but good practice dictates that they should not assume their existing staff are fully informed on this.

“It’s really important that all employees, whether new or long-standing, know how employers will look after them should they become ill or injured.

“Sharing this information with staff is also beneficial as it demonstrates employers’ compassion for staff both within the workplace and in a broader sense.”

Sick pay and illness absence:

Low sick pay and savings leave workers unprepared for absence

Worries about pay fuel presenteeism

UK workers cannot afford time off for illness

The research found that while some employers only offer the bare minimum of support when staff are absent through illness or injury, others go further.

One in ten (10%) employees said they would be given full pay for the first month compared to 5% who are offered reduced pay for the same period.

Other said they would be offered full pay for the first three months (16%), while 4% would be offered reduced pay for the same period.

Moxham said: “The reality is that while the majority of staff will return to work within weeks or months, some will take longer and those who are most severely ill will simply not be able to and therefore Statutory Sick Pay is unlikely to be adequate.

“Contrary to some employer expectations, ensuring there is provision for long-term financial support is by no means a deterrent to the individual returning to work.”

Moxham said the opposite is usually true, and that an employee who feels supported can be more likely to make a productive return to their workplace.

She added: “Company culture is becoming an increasingly significant factor for many employees when deciding where to apply for a new job and it’s often the case that an employer’s reputation is dependent on its current staff.

“When employees feel like they are looked after, they are much more likely to be better advocates for the organisation.”