Employers who take a more targeted approach to providing health benefits reap the benefits through reduced levels of staff illness

health cash plan

The encouraging news revealed by Reward and Medicash’s exclusive research into health and wellness benefits provision is that overwhelmingly, firms want to use benefits to curb sickness absence – the main cause of stifled productivity in the UK.

Reducing absence was the second-most cited reason for providing benefits, above duty of care, and even above recruitment and retention purposes.

It’s not hard to see why this viewpoint exists. Latest figures (XpertHR: October 2015), found sickness absence costs UK businesses around £16bn – the equivalent of 2.8% of all working time lost each and every year. The data found employees took an average of 6.5 days off due to sickness in 2014.

So, it’s not surprising that respondents to the Reward/Medicash survey say the top advantage they get by offering health benefits is the cost savings through reduced absence rates and reduced long-term sickness rates.

But, while respondents are clearly very aware of the theoretical link between providing health benefits and the drop in sick days they should produce, the surprise from this survey was that only 18% said they specifically measure reductions in sickness absence.

Monitoring sickness absence is necessary, not least because it enables businesses to know exactly what the main causes of absence are. Could there be age group differences? Could absence be from mental health-related issues? Could this be linked to poor on-boarding and poor line management? Until these variables are known, it’s not possible to make a plan for introducing the best interventions.

To read more, download Reward and Medicash’s in-depth guide to workplace healthcare, by CLICKING HERE