New research has suggested that there is a worrying lack of support for newly disabled staff, finding that one in five employers do not offer any support for newly injured, ill or disabled staff.

These findings from research undertaken on behalf of GRiD suggest that employers need to do much more in order to support their newly injured, ill or disabled staff.

Despite four in five offering support for this group, on average, these employers facilitate only three types of support for staff in this position. Therefore, the report recommends instating a much broader range of support which will help employees stay in or return to work.

GRiD suggests that many employers will have a comprehensive range of support for this group via pre-existing employee benefits schemes, but they may not be fully aware of the options.

Of the support offered, the most popular methods are phased return-to-work plans (33 per cent), emotional support such as counselling (26 per cent), and mental health first aiders (20 per cent).

Some of the least popular solutions are access to a medical concierge, offered by less than 10 per cent of employers.

Following this, medical specialists (such as oncologists) is only offered by 9 per cent, and nurse-led support services is used by a mere 7 per cent.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said:

Many employers may have a greater arsenal of support available for this group of employees than they realise, due to the wide and ever-growing range of choice within mainstream employee benefits.

Employers would be wise to lean on their employee benefits consultants for advice in understanding exactly what they have in place across multiple benefits to support those employees who are suddenly in ill health.

The report finds that in order to increase the level of resources for newly disabled, injured or ill staff, employers must aim to offer a diverse arsenal of support.

This includes obtaining employee benefit packages which include access to prevention and early intervention support, allowing employers to pre-emptively support staff.

Katharine Moxham added:

We know employers want to do their best for their staff at times of ill health and we also know that many purchase employee benefits in good faith to support their employees for exactly this purpose.

However, it’s quite possible that many are sitting on an untapped treasure chest of support that their employees could access if employers took a little more time to get a better understanding of exactly what it is that they’ve bought.

*The research was undertaken by Opinium during January 2021 among 505 HR decision makers at UK businesses.





Megan McElroy is a second year English Literature student at the University of Warwick. As Editorial Intern for HRreview, her interests include employment law and public policy. In relation to her degree, her favourite areas of study include Small Press Publishing and political poetry.