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08 Nov 2021

How income protection can support employees’ mental health to help them return to work 

Traditionally, the main focus of businesses has been on the physical health of employees. But in recent years, particularly following the pandemic, businesses have been forced to take a fresh look at how they treat their staff, and many top employers are now placing mental health much higher on the priority list.

 

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Mental health is one of the most common causes of workplace absenteeism, and in 2020, Deloitte analysis found that poor mental health is costing UK employers up to £45 billion a year. As a result, companies have begun to turn their attention to how they can better look after the mental health and wellbeing of their workforce.

Everyday support

This is why many employers are now taking advantage of group income protection insurance. While life and critical illness cover don’t cover mental health, group income protection makes no distinction between physical or mental illness – and in 2020, mental health was the second most common reason for a claim. Additionally, group income protection products are not underwritten, so all employees can benefit regardless of their medical history.  

As part of a proactive approach to wellbeing, a group income protection policy will often include extra support services such as EAPs, providing 24/7 access to clinically trained mental health experts and fast-track counselling that are designed to help employees on a daily basis. 

Industry body, Group Risk Development (GRiD) found that there were more than 138,000 interactions with the additional help and support services funded by group income protection insurers last year. Employees experiencing mental health conditions can access these resources for crucial support and each interaction has the potential to prevent a more serious illness, or better yet, stop the need for an absence in the first place.

Early detection and prompt support can make a huge difference, but sometimes a person's condition means they are unable to work for a considerable amount of time. If an employee is unable to work for a prolonged period, income protection is an excellent way to ensure their financial, mental, and physical wellbeing. 

Financial wellbeing

We tend to underestimate the impact that financial wellbeing can have on employee mental health. It's very hard to find peace of mind when you're concerned about money, which is why group income protection is such a highly valued employee benefit. It eases anxiety about what might happen if an employee is struck with an illness and forced to stop working and sends a clear message that a business cares about employee wellbeing. Knowing that a safety net like this is in place means there’s one less thing for a person to worry about when faced with mental health problems.

In addition to financial assistance, group income protection provides employees with access to rehabilitation services including access to medical professionals and psychiatric advisers who can determine the best course of treatment. These professionals maintain regular contact to ensure that an employee is receiving the care they need to get back to work as quickly as possible, provided they are able to do so.

Over the past few years, insurers have helped employers place mental health higher on the work agenda. Group income protection plays a vital role in this; putting mental health on a par with physical health in the workplace and making a valuable contribution to employees' overall wellbeing that has resulted in reduced absenteeism.

This article is provided by YuLife.

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