Employers Can Help Carers By Enhancing Benefits

  • More than three million employees are juggling caring for family with work
  • Employee benefit consultants support developing new benefits for carers                                                                                                                                    

Employers can enhance their employee value proposition by taking steps to help employees struggling with long-term caring responsibilities for family members, new research1from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

The most popular way to support employees is increased working from home, which 60% of employee benefits consultants cited as important, while 59% believe flexible working options which are already available to staff can help.

Other ideas that would be supported by employee benefit consultants include offering rights to paid short-term leave in employment contracts to help workers who are carers for elderly relatives. Around two out of five (43%) employee benefit consultants would support new rights while one in three (33%) want the group risk industry to develop specific benefits.

Analysis2 shows around three million workers cope with full-time work and looking after relatives with up to one in five forced to give up their jobs leading to a knock-on effect on their finances, their employers and the economy as a whole.

Experts warn that the numbers balancing caring responsibilities with work could grow to as many as nine million over the next 20 years.

MetLife is campaigning on the issue and has launched a report, A Behavioural Approach to Employee Financial Wellness,focusing on how employers can support staff suffering financial stress and balancing caring responsibilities with full-time work.

The report recommends that employers engage with benefit providers to design financial wellbeing programmes and outlines the business case for helping employees to be engaged and satisfied at work.

Research among consultants shows that there is a growing awareness that employers need to invest in supporting staff with caring responsibilities. Around 33% believe the right to paid long-term leave would help while 27% believe employers should offer financial help to employees with caring responsibilities.

Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “More than three million employees already balance work with looking after elderly relatives and that number will only grow as the population ages.

“There is a potential cost for employers if staff need to take time off or even have to give up work.  Making changes now so that employees know there is support available may prove invaluable in the long-run. Our research shows employee benefits are increasingly valued by staff and providing the option of support for caring responsibilities would enhance that.

“The group risk industry can support employers and employees and look at new products or additions which can help address the issue. Employee assistance programmes providing counselling are a step in the right direction and ideas highlighted by EBCs could be considered.”

MetLife’s Group Income Protection proposition includes a Wellbeing Hub offering confidential health and wellness services for employees and their families and tailored data insight reports to help pinpoint potential risks and issues with employee health and wellness. Line managers can access dedicated support to enable them to address day-to-day workplace challenges.

MetLife is established as the UK’s third largest Group Life provider by the number of schemes it insures3 and the sixth largest Group Income provider by premium. It has generated significant market momentum through its focus on customer needs, innovative propositions, a culture of continuous improvement. and a commitment to building strong partnerships.