Only one third of employers offer support to all their staff should they suffer a long-term injury, serious illness or death while working for them.
Furthermore, according to the research from Grid, one in three employers did not offer support to any of their staff facing these circumstances.
Around a third of the 501 HR decision makers quizzed said they offered support to some staff but the trade body highlighted this often exacerbated differences in income and financial stability.
“Those employers who only offer financial support to those at a certain level of experience, seniority, or pay, are leaving those least able to cope financially the most vulnerable,” it said.
“One third of employees and their families are currently left entirety without any financial support during times of a health difficulty or crisis,” it added.
Overall, 35% of employers said they offered support for all staff if they were absent for more than six months due to ill health, disability or injury, 33% offered all staff support on diagnosis of a serious illness, and 34% covered all staff in the event of death.
In contrast, the figures for employers who did not offer any support at all were 33%, 34% and 34% respectively.
Coverage much lower in practice
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “Wider industry statistics indicate that the number of employers who offer support is actually much lower in practice, and given the current squeeze on household finances, this highlights a woeful lack of financial support and security for many employees.
“As individuals, we like to think that ‘it won’t happen to us’ and perhaps, as optimistic employers, the tendency is also to think that ‘it won’t happen to our employees’ but it can and does.
“Support for serious issues like absence, illness and death is affordable and accessible for employers to offer their staff.
“We would encourage those who don’t offer any support to do some investigation and those who only offer support to some staff to consider making it available to everyone.”
Moxham also criticised the employers who only offered support to some members of their staff.
“I cannot imagine being on the HR team that has to tell one member of staff that they are eligible for financial support and then having to tell another that, for whatever reasons, they are not on the same scheme,” she continued.
“When two individuals face a health crisis, they both deserve access to financial support. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the past two years, it’s that we should expect the unexpected
“With the right support in place, however, when life does take an unexpected twist or turn, it does not need to have a detrimental financial impact on the employee or their loved ones,” she added.