World Cancer Day: ‘Group risk key to workplace cancer support’

Cancer is the most prevalent cause for claims on all three of the main types of employer-sponsored financial protection policies, group income rotection (GIP), group life assurance (GLA) and group critical illness (GCI), Group Risk Development says.

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Speaking ahead of World Cancer Day tomorrow, Grid spokesperson Katharine Moxham says workplace protection insurance and employee support mechanisms such as employee assistance programmes, can play a significant role in helping deal with cancer, which is believed to affect around 600,000 UK workers, according to charity Working With Cancer.

World Cancer Day 2017 is calling for action to improve workplace, demanding more smoke-free environments, smoking-cessation services, healthy eating and activity projects and other measures to promote healthy working.

Grid is urging employers not to ringfence group risk products solely for senior management, as there will often be a material impact on families and standards of living regardless of relative seniority in a company.

Moxham says: “With the incidence of cancer so prevalent, employers are in the perfect position to take significant steps towards helping staff to protect themselves and their families financially, should the worst occur.

Organisations employing someone with cancer must tread a fine line in supporting the individual, helping them return to work when they are ready, and ensuring business as usual. Offering staff some level of financial support via Group risk products isn’t entirely altruistic: the individual will no doubt have fewer monetary concerns, the extra support on offer may help reduce their absence period and the employer is able to demonstrate their moral obligations towards staff.

“Losing a source of income impacts all families no matter whether the salary was fifteen or fifty thousand pounds. However, unlike maternity leave or a change of job, a cancer diagnosis is often entirely unexpected and so there is no opportunity to save up a nest egg or war chest in advance. Organisations that recognise this and have no hierarchy amongst staff for group risk benefits will develop a reputation as a decent employer and potentially improve recruitment and retention rates too.”