Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has released new comprehensive driving-related research into eyecare policies across UK companies. The figures reveal that over three quarters of companies (a massive 78%) are unaware of the impending 2011 legislation that would change the legal requirement of eye tests for drivers.
New legislation, passed in the EU Parliament in 2006, is set to be introduced to member states in 2011. The current proposal is that holders of commercial licences will have to have their eyes tested every 5 years, and holders of private licences will be tested every 10 to 15 years. Each member state has until 2013 to translate the directive into national law.
Laura Butler, Corporate Account Manager for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says: “It is astounding that more than three quarters of companies have not even heard of this new legislation. We hope to work with fleet managers to ensure that basic eye tests are implemented for everyone who drives in the course of their work. For everyone’s safety, this should be a priority now, regardless of the date when the actual legislation will come into force”.
The research, conducted among 187 companies, and representing up to 448,000 employees, shows that companies are generally keen to offer an effective eyecare policy, vital for employees who drive in the course of their work. The majority of respondents (73%) state the deciding factor in offering eyecare to their employees is to be a responsible employer, and not just to comply with regulations. Furthermore, 42% believe their employees view eyecare as equally important as other benefits. A worrying 13% do not, however, have an eyecare policy at all. This could have serious implications under the Corporate Manslaughter Act – of which a worrying 15% of respondents were not even aware of this Act and its repercussions for employers.
Specsavers Corporate Eyecare believes that much of the issue may be the perceived cost of eyecare. 20% of respondents state that recent events like the recession and the expenses scandal have now made them much more careful regarding the costs of benefits. It is an interesting link that eyecare vouchers are now seen as the obvious choice for administering an eyecare policy:
- 65% of employers would select eyecare vouchers to cover their employees’ eyecare needs because of the cost savings for the employer
- 64% would do so for the ease of use for employees
- 53% would do so for consistency for all employees
- 48% would do so for the savings on administration time for the employer
- 21% would do so for the peripheral offers and discounts that come with the vouchers
The team at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare were particularly impressed by the knowledge of respondents regarding the wider benefits of full eye examinations:
- Surprisingly, 62% of respondents knew that a full eye examination can aid the detection of diabetes.
- 63% knew it could provide an indication of overall health and 61% knew it could detect indicators of wider health issues
- 78% also thought full eye examinations gave positive reinforcement of the company caring for its employees.
“With all this is mind,” continued Laura “it seems amazing that 13% of companies do not have an eyecare policy at all.”