Mental health issues remain the leading cause of long-term absences from work according to data released ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week by specialist financial mutual Wesleyan.
More than a third (34%) of all income protection claims made to Wesleyan were due to mental health issues*. The next most common causes of long-term absence were musculoskeletal problems (13%) and cancer (13%)*. Wesleyan paid out almost 98% of all claims made for personal income protection benefits last year (against an industry average of 91%**), amounting to nearly £29 million.
The findings come in the wake of Wesleyan launching its Employee Income Protection Plan, which has been developed for dental practices providing them with an additional benefit to help attract and retain staff. Wesleyan will still be providing income protection products for individuals, but this latest offering enables dental practices to ensure employees are adequately covered if they are unable to work due to illness or injury.
Clive Bridge, Managing Director of Life & Pensions at Wesleyan, said: “There has been a huge drive in recent years to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace. Depression and anxiety can keep people off work for a long time. However, knowing they are still able to receive an income while they are unable to work eases the worry of how bills and expenses can still be paid, meaning they can concentrate fully on getting better.
“That is why we have updated our product offering to reflect this. Dental practices can now offer better support to employees with an income protection policy that is part of an employee’s benefits package.”
The Wesleyan Employee Income Protection Plan provides the staff member with a proportion of their earnings for an agreed period of time if they are unable to work due to illness or injury. The scheme doesn’t replace an employer’s statutory obligations covering employee sickness, but instead enhances them to provide employees with an additional level of cover. The company decides which of their employees they want to cover and, in the event of a successful claim, it will receive an amount each month that will allow it to continue paying them a salary through the payroll.
Clive added: “Employers are always looking at ways they can attract and retain staff with a variety of benefits. It’s not uncommon for firms to offer private medical insurance, and this policy can sit alongside that, meaning not only will employees have medical expenses taken care of, they will also have comfort of knowing they will still be receiving an income while they are recuperating too.
“We always recommend taking out income protection to insure against the worst, but, from an employee’s point of view, this new plan not only provides peace of mind, but the premiums are picked up by their employer.”
Wesleyan provides specialist financial advice and solutions to doctors, dentists, lawyers and teachers.
To find out more, visit the website at www.wesleyan.co.uk/commercial/protection/employee-income-protection-plan.
* Taken from Wesleyan’s 2015 income protection claims, the last available data that has a category breakdown.
** According to the 2015 industry average reported by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) for 2015. 2016 data not yet available.