Nine in ten workers given no employer support for personal problems

'Opportunity' for businesses to set themselves apart

Employers are being urged to offer staff greater health and emotional support after research from Canada Life Group Insurance revealed a widespread lack of assistance for those suffering from personal problems.

The sample survey of 500 UK businesses found that 45% of employees had struggled with personal or health problems over the past three years.

But of those who had experienced personal problems, nine out of 10 had received no support in dealing with them from their employer.

Home and family issues were found to be the leading single cause of long-term employee absence for SMEs.

The research also found that 65% of employees would like the ability to work flexible hours and store up time in lieu in order to run personal errands, while 28% would like their employer to provide a subsidised gym membership and 19% would like the opportunity to join healthy living clubs – such as those promoting weight loss – through their workplace.

Paul Avis, sales and marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, said there are measures employers can take to prevent employee health or personal problems becoming a cause for absence, such as access to councillors and medical advice.

He said: "With so few people appearing to be given support with flexible working practices and maintaining a healthy diet, there is a clear opportunity for employers to set themselves apart and show how much they care about their employees’ welfare.

"A few small steps in this direction can cost very little but make a big difference."

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