Official figures have revealed that a million workers are off sick for more than a month every year, with Royal London statistics finding that over half (52%) of them would worry about their income if they were to become too ill to work for longer than a month.
Furthermore, the firm highlighted that a staggering two-thirds (60%) of employees found their employer’s sick pay policies difficult to understand, while one in six workers were clueless as to what their employer’s sickness policy is. Employees are entitled to £92.05 a week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks, yet 42% of those surveyed did not agree that this was enough to live on if they were off sick for more than a year.
However, employers may enhance SSP, though different companies have different policies. Royal London identified that a quarter of those surveyed thought the opposite, and mistakenly believed sick pay policies were the same across all companies and industries. For example, some employers offer contractual sick pay, which is more generous than SSP and employees could be entitled to it from the first day of sick leave.
The average UK worker stands to lose almost £450 in pay if they were off sick for a week without contractual sick pay. Royal London is therefore urging employees to consider how they would manage their finances if they were faced with this situation.
Commenting, Royal London protection specialist Jennifer Gilchrist: “Falling ill unexpectedly could happen to anyone. With a million workers off sick for more than a month, it’s important to think about how you would manage financially and make plans, so you do not have the added financial worry if you were to fall ill.”
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