Why it’s important to extend employee benefits to dependents during the COVID-19 pandemic
For over a year now, millions of employees are still working from home and juggling responsibilities like looking after their children and senior dependents. Although children will be returning to school soon and lockdown measures lifted across the UK by June, the reality remains harsh as many continue to struggle with stress and mental health issues.
In this Pacific Prime UK article, we look at why it’s important to extend employee benefits to dependents during this difficult and unprecedented time and explore the different ways employers can offer their support.
Offering mental health support to employees and their dependents
According to medintu, around 15% of workers are struggling with mental health problems like stress, depression, and relationship breakdown. This number alone is likely to rise without the proper interventions and support, which is why employers are working with their employee benefits providers to offer free access to mental health apps.
Such mental health apps can help employees and their dependents manage stress, build resilience, and manage anxiety, whilst providing guidance that elevates mental health and wellbeing in the long run. Employee benefits packages can include mental health services that offer tailored information, such as online webinars for specific audiences or individuals that cover mental wellbeing management during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
These can also help bring employees and their dependents closer and build better relationships and understanding. By embracing new solutions together, employees and their families can grow and be able to move forward.
Employee assistance programs for dependents
As well as offering mental health support, employers can look to extending employee assistance programs (EAPs) to the dependents of employees, which can offer a 24/7 counselling service helpline, emotional support, and practical information to apply when dependents are at home, working remotely, or isolated from family members. The end result is positive mental well-being for the whole household, which is why employers are encouraged to utilize or promote this feature of employee benefits to employees. EAPs are typically included as an added-value benefit with group health and benefits plans.
For further reading on mental health and EAPs:
- What to do when your employee discloses a mental health issue
- Telemental health apps to get therapy from home
- COVID-19: Mental health tips during quarantine at home
- HR’s guide to mental health
Telemedicine – virtual support for employees and their dependents
As the UK has yet to have lockdown measures fully lifted and many general practitioners (GPs) and hospitals are currently restricted to emergencies only, employees can certainly feel concerned about a non-urgent condition that they still want to seek medical attention for. To address this issue, some employers offer online GP services or support from private health organizations like Immedicare. When offered to employees and their dependents, telemedicine benefits can help everyone access medical support from the comfort of their home, as well as stay on top of their health, and alleviate non-urgent health concerns.
Download Pacific Prime’s Global Employee Benefits Trends report 2020 to learn more about telemedicine and the range of benefits and advantages it brings to employees.
Financial support for employees and their dependents
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted people’s financial security and has presented many financial challenges. For those still employed, it’s certainly been a difficult few months as expenses have probably increased including bills and purchases of essentials, as well as health expenses. With children studying from home and attention needed from vulnerable members of the family, keeping everyone well has come at a cost to many employee’s financial positions.
However, employers can now offer financial education and support helplines specifically for employees including those that have been furloughed. Managing everything from their work, the needs of their dependents and meticulously spending on a tight budget and depleting savings can cause a tremendous amount of stress and hardship.
Employers can more or less save employees from making some regrettable decisions with their finances by supporting them with the necessary financial support on their employee benefits plan.
For further reading: The employer’s guide to financial wellbeing in the UK
Where can employers get more advice and support?
Times have certainly changed in the UK within the last year alone, and employers are encouraged to extend their employee benefits to the dependents of employees. By offering dependent coverage as well, employers will see better results from employees, not just in their performance, but also in their mental health.
Employers can look into reviewing their current offerings to make sure that they meet the needs and requirements of employees, especially post-COVID-19. For instance, placing eligible dependents on a group/corporate health insurance plan can be welcoming news for employees and allows them to focus on the development of the business.
Additionally, paying close attention to employees and the available benefits on offer to dependents can be an attractive reason to help retain a loyal workforce, but also attract future candidates that are looking for an employer that puts employees first. What’s certain is that employee benefits during COVID-19 will continue to evolve as new concepts and technologies are introduced in 2021 and beyond.
To learn more about the employee benefits trends in the UK, you can reach out to one of Pacific Prime UK’s employee benefits advisors, who can take into account your needs and put you at the centre of all their decisions.
- Why it’s important to extend employee benefits to dependents during the COVID-19 pandemic - March 22, 2021
- What’s the timeline for lifting lockdown in the UK? - February 25, 2021
- What you should know about coronasomnia in the UK - February 4, 2021