Are you running an SME business or working for one?


The impact of long-term sickness on a small to medium business and its employees can’t be underestimated. Despite this, research from the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) and Unum, a Fortune 500 listed Insurance Company, has shown that in a survey of 1000 UK businesses, only 8% had any form of protection in place. Of the businesses surveyed, 91% were small to medium employers.


Unum UK’s CEO, Peter O’Donnell stated, ‘Illness and long-term sickness absence can have a serious impact on individuals and their families as well as to businesses of all sizes across every sector.’


Most employers want to support employees who are unable to work due to sickness. In a recent work and health consultation, the Department for Work and Pensions looked at ways to actively encourage employers to help improve the quality of care within the workplace with a view to keeping people in their jobs. Another consultation found 1 in 25 people who are or were employed in the previous 12 months to July 2019 had a spell of long-term sickness absence (LTSA). There was also a lower retention rate amongst employees in small workplaces.


When a small to medium business has an employee on LTSA, the impact can be even greater, particularly if that person is in a key position. Apart from the costs of paying the employee in accordance with a sickness policy, temporary replacements can be costly. Co-team members may also feel the impact as their workload increases and if the employee had clients, it could result in losses in that area.


Whilst the Government is looking to support businesses by helping to improve working practice and implement appropriate Sick Pay policies, businesses can also take steps to diminish these risks by:

  • Limiting overworking
  • Encouraging a work/life balance
  • Introducing flexible working hours
  • Early intervention to support employees whilst they’re sick
  • A phased return to work after illness
  • Help with workplace modifications should they be needed
  • Offering Private Healthcare
  • Offering Critical illness
  • Offering Life Insurance


Similarly, as an employee, it’s worth considering the impact LTSA would have on you and your family.


If you would like to discuss options for your business please call us on – 01483 930390


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