Wellbeing and education go hand in hand: Friends

The director of group protection at life and pensions provider Friends Life said that CIC and IP were such “incredibly valuable benefits” that employees needed to be educated about the security this could afford them should the worst happen.

He said: “We are all aware that people’s personal budgets have been squeezed in recent years, so it is understandable that some would prefer a pay rise over something like income protection. But this could, in part, come down to communication.

“If businesses improve the way they tell employees about the benefits that are available, we may well see staff awareness and appreciation of these benefits increase.”

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His comments came as the company conducted a poll among employees to ascertain what they knew about benefits in their workplace, and what they understood about income protection and critical illness cover.

The poll found that 45 per cent of employees said their company was ineffective in telling them about the benefits that are available. Some 8 per cent claimed there were no communications at all.

While many of them said that protection would be a benefit, 20 per cent did not know whether or not their employers offered such benefits.

Last year, figures issued by the government said that more than 2.4 million people are claiming employment and support allowance.

Key figures

• 1 in 5 UK employees do not understand what wellbeing benefits they are entitled to

• Less than half of UK workers (45%) say communication of benefits by their employer is effective

• Only 28% of staff are happy with their employer’s wellbeing services.

Adviser view:

Paul Hoskin, director of Norfolk-based Hoskin Financial Planning, said: “No one likes to think about getting ill, but mortgages, bills and general living expenses do not stop because you have to stop working.

“There are no financial certainties these days, and in this economic climate it is more important than ever to protect yourself, so having reliable IP cover helps provide peace of mind and security.”