Three-fifths (60 per cent) of organisations now prioritise mental health support in benefits packages, new research by XpertHR reveals.

Due to the avid focus placed on mental health over the past year, more than half (59.4 per cent) of UK organisations now offer mental health support to their workforce.

In addition, almost all employers surveyed offer at least one employee benefit that aims to positively impact health and wellbeing, with employee assistance programmes and life assurance proving the most popular options.

This comes as part of a wider move, on the part of businesses, to prioritise employee wellbeing with close to a quarter (23 per cent) of companies reporting putting this at the top of their agenda in the year ahead.

More businesses are now offering perks, which were traditionally reserved for senior members of staff, to all employees through including them in flexible and voluntary packages.

Within flexible benefits schemes, PMI is offered by  almost half (45.1 per cent) of organisations while  healthcare cash plans are offered by two in five (40.8 per cent).

Within voluntary schemes, healthcare cash plans are made available by over half (53.3 per cent) of organisations and PMI is offered by over a third (38.3 per cent).

Particularly popular health benefits included counselling services or employee assistance programmes (89.4 per cent), life assurance (82.2 per cent) and flu injections (50 per cent).

Close to three in 10 (27.2 per cent) also provide free or subsidised gym memberships as well as health screening (28.3 per cent).

Sarah Byrne, HR practice editor at XpertHR, comments:

Over the past year the importance of looking after all aspects of employee health has really come to the fore. The challenges presented by the pandemic have prompted many organisations to take a fresh look at the benefits they offer and consider whether they are best meeting employees’ needs.

Whilst benefits relating to health and wellbeing have long been on offer, employers are listening more closely to employees to discover which benefits are most useful to them. In the information they shared, organisations were clear that employee health and wellbeing is a clear strategic priority, and we expect this to remain the case going forward.

*XpertHR’s survey on benefits and allowances was conducted in May and June 2021. Responses were received from 180 organisations, collectively employing more than 262,000 people.





Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.