SMEs not ready to support staff on sick leave


There is a disconnect between how much employees working in small businesses expect they will be supported by their boss if they get ill, and how much their company is likely to be able to afford, research has suggested.

An analysis by group risk insurer Ellipse has argued that 70% of employees within small and medium enterprises (SMEs) believed that their employer would provide emotional and practical support if they were absent for a long period of time and just over half (51%) thought their employer would continue to pay them.

Yet its survey of 250 SME decision makers found that just 10% had insurance to cover sick pay for a period of long-term sickness

Just 6% said that they would continue to pay an employee’s full salary after the statutory sick pay period, while 43% said that they would continue to pay part of the salary and 35% would not pay anything after the statutory sick pay period.

Separately, the latest paper from the Work Foundation’s Health at Work Policy Unit has suggested that there is a clear need for SMEs to do more to support the health and wellbeing of their staff more consistently.

In a wide-ranging study, recommendations included better delivery of occupational support to SMEs, the development of a dedicated “one-stop shop” or portal that SMEs could use for health and wellbeing guidance and encouraging or incentivising SMEs to invest more in insurance products such as income protection.

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