Dealing with serious employee health and wellbeing issues on a case-by-case basis is expensive, inefficient and inconsistent, GRiD has warned.
Research by the group risk association found most businesses provide employee support on an individual basis rather than putting in place a formal, pre-arranged package or contract to support them.
The survey found over half (52%) of employers have supported an employee dealing with bereavement on a case-by- case basis, followed by 12% funding one-off emotional support themselves.
Another 43% have supported an employee diagnosed or dealing with a serious illness on a case-by-case basis, 13% through protection insurances and 11% funding one-off emotional support themselves.
The most popular way for employers to support an employee absent long term (six months or more) because of ill-health, disability and/or accident is on a case-by-case basis, followed by funding one-off financial and emotional support themselves.
Case-by-case support is also the most popular method to support staff with mental ill-health and to support an employee’s family after their death.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said reactive decision-making on behalf of an employee is not only expensive in itself but almost impossible to budget for too.
“There is virtually no way of knowing how many employees will face a serious issue from one year to the next and that doesn’t make HR popular with the finance team,” she stated. “As an alternative, group risk policies not only offer good value for money but enable all departments to be comfortable that sufficient support is in place year on year, without any unforeseen expenditure.”
GRiD warned that inequality and discrimination can unintentionally creep into HR decision-making if an employer insists on dealing with major issues on an individual basis.
It is also time consuming for the HR team and less efficient for the individual member of staff because decision making could cause delays in accessing support and treatment.
“When an employer works with a provider to offer financial, medical or emotional support, they are trusting their employee into the care of professionals who have the expertise to determine the best course of action for that individual,” said Moxham. “It may be that two people presenting with the same scenario from the same employer receive different treatments, but that will be based on a third-party professional opinion rather than due to employer inconsistencies or inefficiencies.”