New employee disability service should include group risk, says GRiD

Income protection schemes and Employee Assistance Programmes should be mentioned

Employers, group benefits providers, advisers and suppliers are invited to respond to the Government’s test version of its Support with Employee Health and Disability Service by 30th December.

The service is designed to help business owners and HRs support employees with particular health issues or disabilities.

However, GRiD, the industry body for the group risk protection sector, says it is disappointed that there is no mention of group income protection and its embedded support services, such as Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and vocational rehabilitation. These employer-sponsored benefits offer a wealth of support to employees and relieve the burden on the state.

GRiD believes they should be recognised within the new Government service as being hugely beneficial tools for employers. By raising awareness of the key role these benefits can play, more employers will consider offering them, and more employees will benefit.

It is important for as many employers and companies in the industry as possible to take the opportunity to respond. Weight is given to the number of responses, and the more that calls for other areas to be considered, the better.

GRiD believes the current focus on occupational health as the only tool an employer would have at their disposal is short-sighted. Many other support services are available for employers to use to help their employees, including HR support, EAPs, case management, vocational rehabilitation, second medical opinion services, nurse-led support, fast-track access to physiotherapy, CBT and other talking therapies, online GP services, health apps and so on. Employers could purchase these separately on a stand-alone basis or made available via other benefit purchases, such as group income protection and private medical insurance.

Katharine Moxham, a spokesperson for GRiD, says: “The new Support with Employee Health and Disability Service needs to include much more information on the range of support available, including within group risk benefits if it intends to ‘give employers the tools they need to empower and encourage disabled employees’ as it purports to do. Without this inclusion, it is lacking and not fully equipping employers with the information they need.”

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