Grid is forming a new Workplace Public Policy Committee with the aim of promoting workplace health and wellbeing matters to government.
The committee has been set up in response to the group risk sector getting overlooked by the government’s recent consultation, Health is Everyone’s Business (July 2019), which looked at how to help employers prevent sickness absence and support their staff, should poor health threaten their ability to work.
The committee will share and shape lobbying activities on behalf of Grid with the dual aims of representing an agreed industry position to government and positively influencing policy making.
Grid works with government departments involved in legislation and regulation affecting group risk benefits; this new committee both formalises the approach and allows for a wider remit, looking at workplace health and wellbeing in a broader context.
The new committee will be chaired by Simon Hodgson, who leads public affairs for Unum. Nick Homer, head of market management at Zurich Corporate Risk will support the committee at Grid’s Steering Group.
The Health is Everyone’s Business consultation sets out plans to improve workplace health, particularly among SMEs, toughening obligations currently placed on employers, and strengthening enforcement of existing sick pay protections, but while the group risk industry is perfectly placed to support this, Grid says it was overlooked in the consultation.
The Workplace Public Policy Committee will look to work closely with government to show the vital role that group risk insurers can play in such support. It will also highlight the contribution being made by some of the country’s best employers who already take preventative action in providing group income protection to look after the financial, mental and physical health of their workforce.
Grid chair Steve Bridger says: “Our membership includes insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries, all of whom have a wealth of experience built over many years and who have witnessed successive governmental approaches to decision-making regarding the health of the nation’s workforce. This collective strength will mean we will be a voice to be reckoned with when current and future policymakers are taking judgements about employers and the health of their employees.”
Hodgson says: “Many employers have already seen the business benefits of investing in the health and wellbeing of their workforce, but we believe too many workers, and particularly those working in smaller or medium sized businesses, are missing out – despite the fact that they represent almost half of the working population.
“Together, our organisations have been supporting employers large and small for decades, helping them look after their staff and getting them back to work. By drawing from the wide expertise of our members and building a broad consensus, we will continue to develop sound proposals to put forward to government that will be intended to improve the workplace health of millions of people.”