If you’re a small business owner, you might not have given employee private health care schemes a thought. That kind of thing is for big corporations—isn’t it? And doesn’t it cost a fortune?
Not necessarily. As with most industries, competition has lowered prices. There are some solid reasons for providing private health care to employees.
Private healthcare is an increasingly significant perk
Private healthcare was once seen as a nice perk but it is becoming increasingly attractive. With the NHS critically underfunded, it’s one way to bypass long waiting times.
It helps with recruitment and retention
Because of their size, small businesses are seen as having more opportunity to foster a caring environment. Providing private healthcare is a great way to show employees you’re concerned about their well being. It will not only make employment with you more attractive, but make remaining in your employ more attractive too.
Several surveys have shown that private health insurance is one of the most valued benefits for employees.
Can reduce absenteeism
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in 2017, 131.2 million working days were lost due to ill health, with around a quarter attributed to musculoskeletal problems or stress, depression and anxiety.
The shorter waiting times and extra resources available through private healthcare mean that employees may see health issues resolved more quickly. In the case of more serious illness it also means they may be caught at an earlier stage, increasing the chance of effective treatment over a shorter period of time.
Can reduce presenteeism and increase productivity
Presenteeism refers to an employee working when they are not well enough to do their job properly. Staff who are not feeling their best won’t produce their best work, and if contagious pose a risk to the rest of the workforce.
Healthier employees are more productive—as are those who feel that they’re cared about and supported by their employer. Win-win!
Looks after you, too
It’s not just your employees that will enjoy these perks, but you too. In small businesses, the workplace can really suffer if just one or two people are ill or absent.
As a small business owner, you’re essential to the team, so keeping yourself in good health is vital.
You’ll need to do your research to find the right scheme for your business and employees. As well as private health insurance plans, there’s also the option to subscribe to private GP services or digital healthcare services, which use onsite diagnostic tools and video consultations with a private GP.
To understand how offering treatment or health insurance to employees affects your NI, tax and reporting obligations, read the Government’s guide.