Why employers can’t pay their workers’ premiums, says PwC

Companies that do not provide employee coverage to employees may be liable for workers’ claims if their workers lose their jobs, a leading UK-based PwCs has warned. 

The Insurance Institute for Northern Ireland said a growing number of firms had failed to meet requirements to cover workers’ health and welfare. 

It said that as many as one in five employers do not offer workers’ compensation coverage. 

“Employers have a responsibility to provide workers’ welfare and that is where the gap lies,” said John Hennigan, IINI’s director of policy and practice.

The insurance firm’s annual survey of the sector found that, for the first time in six years, almost one in 10 employers were not providing their workers with adequate employee health and social security coverage.”

If employers fail to meet the requirements of this legislation they are liable for their employees’ health, welfare and pension.”

The insurance firm’s annual survey of the sector found that, for the first time in six years, almost one in 10 employers were not providing their workers with adequate employee health and social security coverage.

In addition, nearly a quarter of employers were providing workers with employer liability insurance, which can be used to recover claims if workers lose work or jobs. 

In total, about a third of employers surveyed did not offer the health and safety of their workers.

PwC’s annual workplace survey in February found that the sector’s average employee health insurance premium was around $10,000 a year.

The premium for workers in the insurance sector has fallen in recent years, while employers have been paying more in the past year.

The PwCI’s survey found that in 2016-17, nearly 50 per cent of employers did not provide workers with at least one type of employer liability protection, with the lowest premiums for self-employed workers at just $5,000.

About three-quarters of employers had a health insurance cover that covered up to 12 weeks’ worth of sick leave, compared with around one-third of employees. 

PwCs are working to raise awareness of the need for employees to provide employer health and disability cover, said Mr Hennig.

“We know that many employees are reluctant to discuss their health conditions, particularly if they are in the process of leaving their job,” he said.

“The IINi survey suggests that many employers are ignoring the health needs of their employees and providing poor coverage.”

Employers in the IINis survey were also asked about their own policies regarding employee welfare.

Mr Hennigs said the average employee insurance premium for companies in the sector was around 5 per cent.

“If an employer doesn’t provide adequate employee welfare and protection, there’s a real risk of workers’ losing their job, leaving their employer, and not getting the compensation they deserve,” he added.