Group Risk Development (GRiD), the trade body which represents the group risk industry, has warned employers that they could break the law if they fail to offer apprentices access to employee benefits.

 

GRiD points out that apprentices must be treated fairly and equally in terms of paid holiday, sick pay and benefits.* This means they must be offered the same conditions and benefits as other employees in comparable roles working at similar grades.

 

However, employers need not provide apprentices with access to group risk protections which are provided to particular groups of employers, such as senior managers or directors.

 

These might include cover such as critical illness, income protection and life assurance policies which may be offered as selective rather than universal benefits.

 

But if a benefit is offered across an organisation then this must too be available to apprentices.

Employee benefits can be a valuable tool in delivering equality

 

 

Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) are a good example of a benefit which may be offered universally. These support employees’ wellbeing by providing access to expert advice and counselling services. These might range from guidance on personal finance issues through relationship counselling and mental health therapies.

 

They might also offer psychological support to an employee should they suffer a bereavement or trauma.

 

Commenting on employers’ legal responsibilities and the added value employee benefits can bring to businesses, GRiD spokesperson Katharine Moxham said:

 

“Understandably, an employer may feel like they want to wait until an apprentice qualifies before committing to the expense of benefits, but that is simply not an option under UK law. Organisations would do well to assess what provisions they’ve already made for existing staff that can be easily extended to apprentices at very little or no additional cost, and group risk products can fit the bill perfectly as they can be some of the most affordable.”

 

 

The benefit of communicating employee benefits

 

If your organisation provides an employee benefits package then it’s important that you communicate to staff what is available to them. It’s an area in which many organisations fail.

 

GRiD reports that just 26% of organisations make a point of regularly communicating details of benefits packages to their staff.** This begs the question of how well informed apprentices might be of the support services they may be able to access.

 

“National Apprenticeship Week is a perfect opportunity to open up a dialogue with apprentices about the benefits and support they could be missing out on because they might not know about them,” points out Katharine Moxham.

“And it makes good business sense: today’s supported apprentices are tomorrow’s engaged and productive employees.”

 

If you’d like to discuss how group risk protections and Employee Assistance Programmes might assist your business, please call 01254 504910 for a free and impartial consultation.

 

* Government information regarding employers’ responsibilities when employing an apprentice and the rules regarding pay and conditions.

** Research undertaken in November 2017 by Opinium for Group Risk Development. This surveyed 500 HR decision makers at 500 UK companies.They included 100 companies with more than 250 employees.

 

 

 

 

Chase Templeton Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3299980 – registered address: 5 Arkwright Road, Blackburn Interchange, Darwen, BB3 0FG. Towergate Underwriting Group Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 4043759 – registered address: Towergate House Eclipse Park Sittingbourne Road Maidstone Kent ME14 3EN.  VAT Registration No: 447284724.