Health issues among staff are kept hidden from bosses

27 November 2019 by Grace Coleman
blog author

Four in ten employees are hiding a health condition from their employer, new data has found.

The most likely employees to have a health problem that they are hiding from their bosses are younger workers, with 63 per cent of 16 to 23-year-olds and 60 per cent of 24 to 38 year-olds failing to disclose the information.

Benenden Health commissioned the Censuswide survey among 1,000 employees and 1,000 SME business owners, which highlighted that one in 10 workers believed they would not have been offered a job if they had told their employer about a health condition.

In addition, 40 per cent said they did not feel comfortable talking about their health in the workplace and almost a quarter of employees admitted to actually lying to their employer about taking time off for a medical appointment.

The survey also noted that employers did not often offer healthcare packages above statutory allowances – 85 per cent of SMEs said they did not do so and 43 per cent admitted they did not find it necessary.

Despite this, half of employees agreed that a comprehensive health and wellbeing programme would increase their likelihood to join or stay with an organisation. Twenty-nine per cent said they would be willing to take a job that offered a lower salary if the company had a strong health and wellbeing offering.

Helen Smith, chief commercial officer of Benenden Health, said: “Hidden health issues can impact absence rates, productivity and the general wellbeing of staff and so it is vital that workplaces act now to protect their business interests, as well as their workforce’s, especially if they want to attract young talent into their company.

“Benenden is calling for businesses to have a clear reporting process for employees to seek support from the senior team, which if supported by a tailored wellbeing programme that recognises the different needs of a multigenerational workforce, can help increase productivity and promote a happier and healthier workforce.”