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Taskforce wants firms to set out benefit statements

The Income Protection Task Force is expected to lobby the Government for compulsory employee benefit statements in a bid to improve understanding over sick pay entitlement.

In its second white paper, due out in April, the IPTF will call for employers to issue annual benefit statements clearly stating how much sick pay each employee is entitled to by their employer.

The move is part of the taskforce’s plans to boost awareness on the issue,and to help employees avoid any shortfalls if they become ill.

IPTF co-chairman Peter Le Beau says: “We believe there is real value in a statement of sick pay and state benefits given to every employee once a year so they can understand how vulnerable they are if they suffer a period of absence through sickness or accident. Most people who fall ill do not realise the potential they have got for being off work for a long time and it is something they never look at until it is too late.

“What we are trying to do is give them an awareness. It is designed to be a tool for people to use to assess their financial planning when they are trying to work out how vulnerable they are to long-term sickness.”

Master Adviser IFA and IPTF member Roy McLoughlin considers that the problem stems from overly complicated HR booklets.

He says: “Most people are confused, if they know anything, about what they get from their respective employer in terms of sickness pay. A statement from the employer detailing this in plain English would soon clarify this situation.

“In conjunction with their adviser, people could then establish whether an IP policy would be appropriate and, most important, what the relevant deferral period should be.”

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