Lack of sick pay leaves UK workforce in financial jeopardy

UK employees are at risk of a severe financial loss in the event of ill health, with many unable to pay their household bills for more than six to eight weeks, according to a new report.

The report, from health and wellbeing provider BHSF found that 37% of UK workers admited that they could not pay their bills in the event of ill health and a further 28% said they would resort to using credit cards for unexpected bills.

Brian Hall, managing director of BHSF Employee Benefits, commented: “The combination of a lack of savings allied to zero sick pay provision, other than the statutory minimum of £89.35 per week, leaves many employees walking a high wire with no safety net.

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“By the time mortgages, car repayments, council tax and four-weekly shops are taken into account, the vast majority of the UK’s workforce will find themselves in dire financial straits in a very short period of time, many will be forced back to work when they are not fit to return.”

The report also found that employees are overly-optimistic about their ability to withstand financial shock, with many believing they could last for up to six months. This is despite high levels of unsecured debt, such as credit cards, averaging £1,910, and inadequate savings.

“It is very worrying that employees appear to be in a state of denial over how precarious their financial situation is, in reality,” says Mr Hall. “All it takes is one short bout of ill-health to leave two thirds of the entire UK workforce in serious financial straits which could take many years to recover from. Average savings will last for little more than six to eight weeks, if that.”

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