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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
July 14, 2017

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Occupational health

Wellbeing: 37% of workers ‘at risk’ of unpaid bills from ill-health

Ill-health puts 37% of UK workers at risk of being unable to pay their bills, according to a new report.

The new report, titled A high wire with no safety net by health and wellbeing insurance firm BHSF, claims two-thirds of the entire workforce have no sick pay provision, beyond the Statutory Sick Pay minimum of £89.35 a week for a maximum of 28 weeks.

It claims more than a quarter would resort to credit cards to fund unexpected bills, and most workers would be unable to pay household bills for a period longer than six to eight weeks.

Sandwich generation

It found those most at risk are the ‘sandwich generation’ – the 30 to 44 age group, which have higher than average unsecured debt.

The mental impact of financial stress was also highlighted with half of UK workers admitting to less sleep due to cash worries, and a third claiming such stress impacted their job performance. Some 13% said financial stress was a ‘constant problem’.

Many claimed to be able to withstand financial shocks for up to six months, despite high levels of unsecured personal debt.

‘Very worrying’

Brian Hall, managing director of BHSF Employee Benefits, said the survey was ‘very worrying’ as workers were ‘in a state of denial’ over the impact of ill-health.

He said: “All it takes is one short bout of ill-health to leave two thirds of the entire UK workforce in serious financial straits which could take many years to recover from.

“Average savings will last for little more than six to eight weeks, if that.”

“It is incumbent upon employers to be brave and to help educate their workforce about financial issues such as sick pay.

“All-too-often the subject is swept under the carpet or not adequately addressed with a negative impact on employee wellbeing and mental health.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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Nigel Dupree
Nigel Dupree
6 years ago


Whilst most office environments are perceived to be “low-risk” those dependent on use of display screen equipment will predictably have 58% of operators with mild to more seriously debilitating levels of Screen Fatigue / CVS impairing performance and productivity by an average of 20% or 30+ days, one working day in five, lost productivity a year.

2012 EU MSD Directive and Brexit have provided a near miss on having to address the occupational health issues but, what about ISO 45001 and “Work Exposure Limits” !