Over a quarter of UK workers (26%) do not currently receive any workplace benefits from their employer, according to new research from Canada Life Group Insurance. This would equate to around 7.8 million employees if this was replicated in the UK working population. Despite auto-enrolment bringing workplace benefits into the spotlight, the proportion who receive them has only risen 6% since Q4 2012.

The research also reveals that less than half (42%) of stress-sufferers received help from their workplace in 2013. Over one in eight (13%) approached their employer with stress related problems but were not given any help, despite the fact that Health and Safety Executive figures for 2011/12 indicate that stress accounts for 40%* of all work-related illnesses

Employees’ incomes exposed as few receive financial protection from employer

In a reversal of fortunes, women have become more likely to receive benefits from their employer than men. In Q4 2012, 73% of employed men received workplace benefits; a year later, this has fallen to 71%. In contrast, three quarters of female employees (75%) now receive workplace benefits: a 10% increase since Q4 2012.

Of those who do receive employee benefits, pensions are the most common, with 45% of workers having a pension that their employer contributes to. This figure is expected to rise significantly by the end of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions. Other commonly offered benefits include death in service payments or life insurance (29%), more than 28 days holiday including bank holidays (28%) and free eye tests (26%).

Most common workplace benefits

Least common workplace benefits

A pension that my employer contributes to (44%) A policy which pays out a lump sum should you become critically ill (3%)
Death in service payment/life insurance (29%) Cash health plans (3%)
More than 28 days holiday (inc bank holidays)(28%) Subsidised mobile phone (4%)
Free eye tests (26%) Company car (4%)
Shopping discounts (16%) Gym membership (4%)


Only 7% of employees are provided with insurance that covers them if they become ill or injured and are unable to work, while an even smaller proportion (3%) receive a critical illness policy that pays out a lump sum should they become seriously unwell. This leaves many workers’ income exposed should they experience illness or injury that prevents them from working.

Stress sufferers receive little help from employers

Almost half of respondents (49%) struggled with stress in 2013. However, few received satisfactory help from their employer: of those respondents who suffered stress-related problems in 2013, 13% claim they approached their employer but they were provided with no help. An additional 31% were too embarrassed to approach their employer, while 26% thought telling their employer about their problems with stress could result in losing their job.

Received help

Did not receive help

My employer provided third-party services which help with stress, e.g. Employee Assistance Programme (21%) I struggled with stress but was too embarrassed to approach my employer (31%)
My employer tried to solve issues at work that cause me stress e.g. excessive workload (13%) I struggled with stress but was too scared to approach my employer in case I lost my job (26%)
My employer gave me time off when I was struggling with stress (8%) I approached my employer with stress related problems but they provided no help (13%)


Only a fifth (21%) of those who had stress-related issues were given access to third party services which help with stress, such as Employee Assistance Programmes. Meanwhile, an additional 13% say their employer attempted to help by resolving issues at work that caused them stress e.g. excessive workloads or problems with colleagues. Under one in ten (8%) were given time off when they were struggling with stress.

Paul Avis, Marketing Director of Canada Life Group comments: “The fact that a quarter of UK staff do not receive any benefits at all suggests that many workers’ health and wellbeing is simply not being prioritised by their employer. The introduction of auto-enrolment brought the issue of benefit provision firmly under the spotlight, but only an additional 6% now have workplace benefits compared to Q4 2012.

“Workplace benefits are not only a vital part of staff recruitment and retention, but help staff to feel valued in the short-term and can avoid potential disaster if an employee falls ill or receives an injury and is unable to work. Employers should therefore evaluate their benefits packages regularly to ensure they are doing all they can for their staff to maintain a happy and productive workforce.”