Aviva research

Long-term sickness support for employees

Just one third of employers will fund long-term sickness support for employees

  • More than half of workers would prefer to have their income protected rather than a salary increase
  • Women less likely to get sick pay from employer
  • Women more likely to choose income protection benefit than increase in salary
  • Over half of Income Protection Policy Claimants are Under 50

Just one third of employers (34%) will fund long-term sickness support for their employees covering up to six months of absence due to sickness or injury, while more than 5 in every 10 workers would prefer to have their income protected as an employee benefit rather than a 10% salary increase. A new employee-protection survey (see Appendix below) from Aviva Life & Pensions Ireland DAC (Aviva) looked at the extent to which employees are protected by their employers, in the unfortunate event that they are unable to work for an extended period as a result of illness or injury. The survey, conducted by iReach Insights on behalf of Aviva, interviewed over 700 workers nationwide.  It also looked at people’s preferred choice of employee benefit if given the choice of an income protection policy of up to 75% of income or a 10% salary increase.

Highlights from the Aviva employee-protection survey include:

  • 15% of employees would receive full pay while on sick leave – for a few weeks
  • 13% of employees would receive full pay while on sick leave – for a few days
  • 15% of women will not receive any sick pay from employer – compared to only 8% of men
  • 55% of men would choose an increase in salary over an income protection policy – compared to 41% of women

Whilst the Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise, Trade and Employment’s recent approval of the Government’s statutory sick pay plan to give all workers the right to paid sick leave is a welcome initiative, it will not provide the necessary financial support to individuals who, due to either illness or injury, are unable to work for an extended period. This leaves a large chunk of the working population vulnerable to a financial shock if they are unable to work for an extended period due to illness or injury.

Siocha Costello, Aviva

“Our income protection insurance statistics show our average claim duration is five years and half of all claimants are under 50 years of age at the time that the claim commenced. However, in overall terms the duration that our claimant can be out of work ranges from a few months to anything up to between 15-20 years.  The average weekly pay-out from our income protection policies is €700.

“The fact that women are less likely to receive sick pay from their employer if they cannot work for an extended period is particularly worrying.  Our statistics show that, over the last five years, the average time from taking out a policy to making a claim for women is six years, with 40% of all income protection claims by women notified within the first three years of the policy.  This is in sharp contrast to our claims experience by men, where the average claim is 11 years after taking the policy out, with 40% of men claiming after eight years.

“It is only when we don’t have it that we realise how crucial our income is to cover our cost-of-living expenses, and more particularly for people with young children who have rent/mortgages to pay as well as lots of other financial demands on their income.  It is so important for people, where possible, to plan for any interruption to this income coming into a household on a regular basis”, concluded Siocha Costello.

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