Statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that, in any one year, more than 130 million days are lost because of sickness absence in the UK, while there were over 2 million people aged 16-64 classed as long-term sick last year.
Research published this year by Group Risk Development (GRiD), meanwhile, showed that 23% of employees wouldn’t be able to financially support their families if they were off for six months of more.
They supported this saying that ‘Given that average household spend is £517 a week, and savings are at just £20.80 a month, this highlights the importance of protecting income against long-term absence from work rather than relying on cutting back on daily spending.’
Insurance plays a vital role in helping people cope with financially adverse situations, as a result. Last year, Dentists’ Provident paid benefits to their member dentists of over £4.5 million, for days lost to illness or injury.
In 2014, over a third of Dentists’ Provident claims paid were for musculoskeletal disorders, and 17% for psychiatric disorders. Mental health, particularly, is an issue across so many industries, as a recent YouGov survey highlighted that over half of people suffer from “burn out” or anxiety and this peaked for workers aged 25-34.
At the end of last year, the Government launched a ‘Fit for Work’ scheme which aimed to fill any gaps in the current support. This includes a referral service, which went live in March, where GPs, and ultimately employers, will be able to refer employees for additional occupational health services, if they have been, or are likely to be, off sick for four weeks or more.
A third of employers in GRiD’s recent survey said they would be likely to use the new ‘Fit for Work’ government services to help members of their team with a health condition, to stay at, or get back to work. Nearly 20% of employers surveyed wanted the next government to take more action on staff wellbeing
Dentists’ Provident conclude that it’s up to all employers and team members to do what they can to minimise sick days with preventive health approaches, have appropriate sickness provisions in place, and be aware of new initiatives and services that can support staff.