Finding opportunities in a difficult market
It's hard to escape the economic doom and gloom at the moment, with many companies being forced to take tough decisions. The recent dilemma addressed by Lucy Kellaway, a Financial Times columnist who tackles workplace problems in a fortnightly 'agony aunt' column, is one that will strike a chord with many, which was: "Do I cut subsidised food or gym?"
Lucy's questioner isn't the only manager facing this difficult decision. In the current economic climate, employers should look carefully at their whole benefits package to assess whether it's cost-effective and covers what their employees want. For example, according to a recent Unum/ICM survey, UK employees prefer benefits such as flexible working over and above perks like gym memberships.
This research also showed that employees are moving away from wanting traditional monetary perks, such as share schemes, and placing more importance on benefits that don't offer an instant financial gain. 31% of respondents feared falling ill long-term and a third said financial worries kept them awake at night.
The best thing might not be to cut one benefit over another, but look at re-balancing your whole benefit package to better meet the needs of today's workforce. For example many employers offer Life Insurance to their employees, typically paying out four times their salary if a claim is made. This level of payment relates to a tax threshold that no longer exists and may not be the best use of an employer benefits budget. Younger employees in particular may not have any dependents so have limited need for Life Insurance. Reducing cover to two times salary and introducing a benefit like Income Protection could be more a suitable option: since staff are three times more likely to go on long-term sick leave than die during their working life*.
If you would like help navigating these complex issues, creating effective benefits packages that work harder for your business and provide real value, please contact us on 01274 588862 or firstname.lastname@example.org
*DWP, ONS data, Unum analysis
Is Occupational Health causing you a headache?
With over 170 Occupational Health providers operating in the UK, it would be a reasonable assumption to make that accessing such a service would be easy. However, with many providers charging significant annual retainers and the vast majority declining to accept ad-hoc referrals, the whole issue of Occupational Health can, for many organisations, be problematic.
When you add the issue of quality into the mix, Occupational Health becomes a contentious issue, with many line Managers actively finding ways to avoid the involvement of OH Professionals. The consensus from many HR Managers is simply, in all too many cases reports take too long to arrive, regurgitate the employee's view, sit on the fence, reveal no new information and do not provide a robust return on investment.
For many employers, access to a cost-effective, reliable and high quality Occupational Health service on a 'pay as you go' basis offers peace of mind and forms an integral part of the risk management methodology within the business.
The need to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and to operate efficiently in a challenging economic environment has seen the demand for Occupational Medicine increase exponentially over the last 12 months.
PHP has negotiated favourable rates from a well-respected, specialist provider with an un-rivalled reputation for delivering quality output in a timely and cost effective manner.
If you have any OH issues and require specialist support, please do let us know by calling 01274 588862 or emailing email@example.com
Bupa and BMI
You may be aware that at the end of last year Bupa removed 37 BMI Hospitals from their recognised hospital lists after the two were unable to agree on a new contract.
However it has recently been announced BUPA has agreed commercial terms with 34 of the BMI hospitals now restored to Bupa's recognised hospital list.
A statement by Bupa offered their regret at any inconvenience that members and consultants have experienced in recent weeks but continued that they believed the new arrangements provided a good basis to address the affordability of private healthcare while maintaining current standards of high quality care for Bupa members.
If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact your Account Manager on 01274 588862 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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