Perceptions of income protection as the preserve of senior staff have been challenged by a survey from the insurer Unum.
Its research of 6,600 organisations with 780,000 employees found that 55 percent of employees with group income protection (GIP) now earn less than £40,000.
Furthermore, it found that 22 percent of employees with income protection for organisations with fewer than 250 staff.
The survey also identified a gender gap with the survey showing just 37 percent of those covered are women.
Unum said that income protection could be most beneficial for older workers, as while over 50s only represented 24 percent of customers, they made almost half of all claims (49 percent).
John Letizia, head of public affairs and CSR, noted that 83 percent of disabled people acquired their disability during their working lives and that income protection was well-placed to help rehabilitate such employees so they could resume working.
However, Greg Heath, managing director at Derbyshire Booth Financial Planning, noted that demand from SME for income protection was currently low, partly due to the pressure of resolving compliance with auto-enrolment and new pension freedoms.
"Income protection does not come in conversation. Pensions legislation is the choice that everyone is talking about," he said.