Research finds that millions of workers have no financial protection should they have to go off work due to sickness or injury.
Lack of protection
The new research, which was conducted by the insurer Unum, finds that the average employee has only around one month of funds available to survive should they have to cease working and therefore lose their income.
A staggering 21 percent of workers have no financial protection at all, whether that be in the form of an income protection plan, savings or support from family. This 21 percent figure equates to a total of 5.5 million workers in the United Kingdom.
A very real risk
The research also shows that nearly 50 percent of the working population have had to go off work for longer than 7 days due to disability (sickness or injury). As many as two million employees have had to take six months or more off work.
Unum Income Protection argue that their research suggests that workers are either unaware of the protection options available to them (such as disability income insurance or accident and sickness cover) or choose to ignore the risks and take their chances.
Unum asserts that only 1 in 10 workers have any protection insurance in place should they be unable to work and it is the role of the employer to provide access the protection options.
The worst areas
Wales and the North East were regions where workers have the least amount of financial protection. In Wales a shocking 32 percent of workers have no financial protection at all. This figure stood at 24 percent for employees living in the North East of England.
It was unsurprising the research revealed that workers in the South East of England were the most protected (16 percent with no protection), which is likely to have been helped by a larger proportion of companies in this region providing some kind of safety net. Just behind the South East was Scotland where 17 percent were found to be completely unprotected.
The largest proportion of workers who do have a safety net would have to eat up savings in order to survive should they lose their income (44 percent). However, the research does not state for how long those relying on savings would be able to last before their savings were depleted to zero.
A further 25 percent would have to rely on their partner to survive should they lose their earnings and another 24 percent would have to rely on family members, with the remainder (less than 10 percent) actually having formal insurance protection for their earnings.