ASE Corporate Eyecare’s Lyn Hodges examines all of the benefits of having an optical plan in place for your employees
As with many benefits, optical plans are becoming increasingly easier for employers to implement and for employees to utilise. Straightforward to use and virtually admin-free, eyecare would seem to be an easy win all round: but the benefits run deeper than the mere simplicity of the plan…
Duty of care
Implementing an optical plan can help to meet an employer’s duty-of-care needs over three areas:
- DSE (Display Screen Equipment) requirements: eyecare for computer users, under the DSE regulations that state employers must provide a sight test to those employees who need glasses and use a computer at work.
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) requirements: eyecare for workers in hazardous conditions, under the PPE regulations that state employers must provide protective eyewear.
- Corporate driver eyewear: this is not governed by formal legislation – however many employers are looking at the corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide acts and realising they could be personally liable if an employee had an accident while driving for the company and didn’t have appropriate eyewear.
And beyond these three areas, there is also increasingly the issue of duty of care towards an ageing workforce: by 2030, workers aged 55 – 64 will make up 30% of the total workforce in many European countries. To keep an ageing workforce able to do their job properly, they need the right tools and health.
The legislative issues outlined above really drive employers to think about their legal need for eyecare – but increasingly they also see it as part of a health surveillance and preventative medicine approach, because a sight test can now identify certain underlying medical conditions. Examples included diabetes, glaucoma (which, if left untreated, can cause blindness), and even brain tumours.
Consequently, an optical plan has a very important place within workplace healthcare, even in a more general sense: if you’ve got people with eye issues and you’re providing really good, corrective eyewear, it means they’re much more efficient and productive, because they have the right tools to do the job.
It’s not just the wellbeing side of a plan that contributes to employee engagement, either:
- Freedom of choice: although linked to Boots Opticians, we also work with an independent network of opticians, broadening the overall choice of treatment – as well as adding value by including all the discounts and options from the Boots network to the plan.
- Family care: ASE’s Eyecare Plan Everyone creates a separate website for friends and families of employees to privately purchase discount vouchers for sight tests and glasses.
Of course, the engagement also has to be driven to an extent: employees have to know what they have on offer and how to use it.
In attending health and wellbeing awareness days, we can discuss eye health issues, how the plan works, what opticians are available to employees, their entitlements, and so on. The direct communication and engagement with employees has to be in place.
How ASE Eyecare stands out
Running a scheme that is user-friendly really empowers employees to make all requests and decisions themselves, and this automation helps the employer hugely.
We also give our affiliated opticians in-practice software, so when people go in with our voucher code, it’s entered into the system, and the opticians, irrespective of location, can instantly see exactly what that employee’s entitlement is.
We also enable the employer to have real-time management reporting. If you want to see how many staff have taken up a voucher, the kind of vision care they need and so on, that information is at your fingertips 24/7, making the return on investment case.
Ours is one of the most bespoke eyecare services. Regardless of your scheme, our technology will ensure that no employee will ever be given the wrong type of eyecare: whether they require standard DSE eyewear, or Ministry of Defence aircrew eyewear.