GRiD, the group risk industry body is urging employers to encourage their staff to make use of their incumbent employee benefits over the festive period. The run up to Christmas, the day itself and the time afterwards can all be particularly stressful and extra support is often needed.

Access to helplines for mental wellbeing, support for relationship problems and access to virtual GPs are all benefits that can be especially appreciated over Christmas. The group risk industry has seen utilisation of such benefits increase significantly since the pandemic, the need is not expected to diminish any time soon, and may well increase over the festive period as employees face extra challenges this year. As they can be accessed every day they can provide a real lifeline and are some of the most highly valued benefits by employees.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD says: ‘Although employees may be isolated from their usual home and work support networks, they don’t need to be isolated from help. The protection, health and wellbeing industries have provided much needed support to employees this year, possibly more than any other year. Of course employees can only make use of such support when they know it’s available, and we’d really encourage employers to promote these valuable services, especially over the festive break.’

Availability of such support is increasingly embedded within employee benefits such as employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness. It’s important for employers to understand what’s available within the benefits they have so they can tell their staff about it, encourage them to use the benefits, and get the most value from them.

Moxham explains: ‘We don’t want anything holding employers back from encouraging their staff to access help, so it’s key for employers to understand that utilising such support does not cost them any extra money. The benefits are provided by the industry as part of their commitment to early intervention, prevention and to support wellbeing, and insurers want their benefits used. Help can be accessed every day by employees whenever it is needed, at no extra cost to the employer or employee.’

Support can be provided 24/7 including Christmas day, and can offer help for financial, physical and emotional issues as well as for more practical matters such as emergency elder care.