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Are your family's finances protected by your employer provided benefits package? Add your thoughts and you could win a £100 giftcard - NOW CLOSED

(92 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Jul-13 10:57:54

According to a new report commissioned by leading financial protection provider Unum, today's employees are more likely to fall into financial difficulty than they were 30 years ago. The report suggests that this is partly down to the fact that employee benefits - designed to provide financial protection - have failed to keep pace with the changing UK workforce which now has more women and older workers plus more workers who are disable or suffering a long-term illness.

In fact, the report identifies that people with caring responsibilities - such as mothers with children - are one of three groups that are most 'at risk' of being left financially exposed owing to an employer provided benefits package that isn't fit for purpose.

So, Unum are asking you:

What employer provided benefits you are entitled to, and how could your employer provided benefits package better support you as a modern employee with caring responsibilities?

For example:
~ Does your employer provided benefits package entitle you to flexible working to help make it easier for you to carry out caring responsibilities?
~ Does it entitle you to income protection so that if you become ill you have the best chance of getting better quickly - without having to worry about losing your monthly wage - so as not to impact on your caring responsibilities?
~ Are you entitled to fewer employer provided benefits because you work part time, and does this impact your ability to carry out your caring responsibilities?

Add your thoughts to this thread and you'll be entered into a prize draw where one MNer picked at random will win £100 giftcard from One4All (which can be spent at 17,000 outlets nationwide)

For more information, visit the Unum pages on MN.

Thanks, MNHQ

QOD Tue 02-Jul-13 22:00:37

Yes yes and yes

Can I have the voucher? grin

sharond101 Tue 02-Jul-13 22:17:06

~ Does your employer provided benefits package entitle you to flexible working to help make it easier for you to carry out caring responsibilities?
I cannot work flexibly as my job requires me to fulfill hours stipulated in a contract between my company and the public sector. I can however request a change in my working hours should I require them.
~ Does it entitle you to income protection so that if you become ill you have the best chance of getting better quickly - without having to worry about losing your monthly wage - so as not to impact on your caring responsibilities? no income protection offered
~ Are you entitled to fewer employer provided benefits because you work part time, and does this impact your ability to carry out your caring responsibilities? there is no difference to my benefits working part time just that everything is pro rata.

GeekInThePink Tue 02-Jul-13 22:22:39

I'm with a good employer I think.
I asked for flexitime and got it on the days I wanted
I have a good amount of holiday
I have a good amount of sick days
They are reasonably family friendly.

GeekInThePink Tue 02-Jul-13 22:22:55

Sorry it's a large organisation.

GeekInThePink Tue 02-Jul-13 22:23:25

Everything is pro rata when part time

skaen Wed 03-Jul-13 06:31:06

I work for a large organisation. Parents can apply for flexible working but in practice anyone can work part time or from home subject to operational requirements. I also get childcare vouchers, decent pension and up to 6 months full pay for sickness and maternity leave. Also s generous holiday allowance.

DH works for a city law firm. They are much more flexible about home working and part time within limits - 4 days seems usually fine. He gets 3 months full pay if sick plus another 6 months half pay together with critical illness and injury cover and a huge death in service benefit.

It is invaluable for us. DH has a chronic illness so we'd struggle to get any benefits approaching this privately.

Triumphoveradversity Wed 03-Jul-13 07:07:43

Full pay for sickness is 26 weeks. Half pay a further 26 weeks

Flexibility can be requested but no guarantees, true flexibility is enjoyed by management.

Five days emergency leave per year for any caring duties, e.g my line manager had two days off to care for her DH who had an op. so not just for dc.

Career average pension scheme, used to be final salary but was 'amended' about ten years ago. People were incentivised by being given a bonus linked to salary. Average payout was probably 1k. People were very short sighted.

There is a union where I work.

Triumphoveradversity Wed 03-Jul-13 07:09:25

Just to add, same conditions for part time workers

PearlyWhites Wed 03-Jul-13 09:12:18

My dh works in the civil service he has good sickness benefits and life/ critical illness cover.

AllSWornOut Wed 03-Jul-13 20:49:14

I work for a large multinational. Benefits are different in each country but where I work:
1. Not really officially flexi-time, but generally people work hours that sit them (does depend on manager though).
2. Very restricted tele-working protocol is currently being trialled (restricted in the departments being considered) but again, depending on manager it's often possible to work the odd day from home.
3. Company tops up sick pay to full wage for first 3 months.
4. We can purchase childcare vouchers at a discount.
5. Maternity leave is stat only. 3 supplemental days of paternity leave given.
6. Flexible time savings accounts and the right to sabbaticals and unpaid leave help to make up for the lack in #5.
7. 5 days leave to look after sick children, can roll over to up to 15 days after 3 years.
8. Company subsidy for private health insurance.
9. Reasonable pension, share purchase and other saving schemes.

Overall I guess it's pretty good but the inflexibility over tele-working is frustrating.

Iamaslummymummy Wed 03-Jul-13 21:44:54

I am employed full time by one of the big banks

I was able to change my hours to 8-4 to care for my son.

I've been on long term sick for work for 2.8 years. 6 months full pay then 2 years half pay through an income protection policy. Now nothing waiting to see if I'll health retirement is granted.

Sounds identical to 2gorgeousboys actually. Reasonable annual leave, good death in service, part time workers are treated the same.

Elainey1609 Wed 03-Jul-13 22:59:38

No income protection scheme to be honest that I know of , but sick pay is full pay for 5 months, then it is deducted.

I don't get sick pay if a dependent is sick .....I am told to take that as holiday.
But do have a small child care voucher scheme

Special leave and shift changes can be arranged with HR if it is possible

CharlotteBronteSaurus Thu 04-Jul-13 09:17:49

i work for a local authority, seconded across to the NHS
we have flexible working - as long as I get my work done, no-one appears to mind how I arrange my working day, which is great
we have the option to work from home, although some of my childcare is home-based so this isn't something I do
we get childcare vouchers
my personal sick pay package is very generous (6mo full pay, 6mo half), although this partially reflects my long service

we get some entitlement to paid carers leave, but the policy on this has changed and we are now Strongly Encouraged to use annual leave or flexi if this is available.

the flexible working is the thing that makes it possible for both DH and I to go out to work - generally one or other of us can finish early or go in late if need be.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 04-Jul-13 09:47:21

DH works for a large American company. He is entitled to apply for flexible hours to cover care needs, and he is entitled to enhanced sick pay. There's also paid leave for emergency care situations such as if I was hospitalised and DH had to be here for the children.

I had the exact same benefits when I worked for a large British company, although at the time I wasn't a parent so never had to worry about care cover, but it was nice to think I wouldn't be left vulnerable should the unexpected happen in the future.

We feel confident that DH's employer would support him through anything such as sickness or a family emergency.

Howstricks Thu 04-Jul-13 12:02:09

We run our own business and have found costs so high and profit margins so tight that we honestly cannot afford any additional employee schemes and the same goes for us. There really isn't any safety net.

HeadFairy Thu 04-Jul-13 14:34:02

I work in an industry which is publicly funded and has been a high profile target of cuts... we are a 24/7 organisation, we are all expected to work erratically, with no predictable shift pattern across many different shifts.

We are currently fighting cuts which will mean an end to flexible working practices (and will massively discriminate against anyone with caring responsibilities).

Good maternity package (which I don't expect will last much longer) 18 weeks full pay then SMP for the remainder.

Sick pay is full pay for 26 weeks after 2 years of full time employment.

I'm not sure if benefits are pro rata'd... I'm on 90% (I work 90% of the full time hours) so I get pretty much the same as the full timers.

We do have a lot of annual leave to reflect the fact that we work every public holiday, weekends are usual work days etc.

Dh works for a large American bank, he has a really good benefits package that allows him to choose a selection of benefits up to a certain amount. We have healthcare and dental care for all the family from them, plus travel insurance and as dh has recently been promoted and his benefits package has increased we now receive shopping vouchers too to make up the extra allowance.

iwantavuvezela Thu 04-Jul-13 15:33:39

For example:
~ Does your employer provided benefits package entitle you to flexible working to help make it easier for you to carry out caring responsibilities?

We are allowed to apply for flexible working, I am in an educational institution, and if they can this is done. However some courses need to be taught at certain times etc, so this is not always possible. However I did ask for flexible working for myself, and after a bit of tooing and froing we came up with a compromise which helps me to fetch my daughter from school a few days a week.

~ Does it entitle you to income protection so that if you become ill you have the best chance of getting better quickly - without having to worry about losing your monthly wage - so as not to impact on your caring responsibilities?

I am not sure about income protectionk, but I would be entitled to sick leave if I was sick, and I would be paid for this (within set time limits)

~ Are you entitled to fewer employer provided benefits because you work part time, and does this impact your ability to carry out your caring responsibilities?

Although I work part-time (0.6 which has now gone to a 0.8 contract) I have been able to join the work pension scheme to which my company pays a percentage into; I have been able (when my daughter was at nursery) to apply for childcare vouchers; I have been able to join a medical scheme at quite reduced rates for myself, partner and child which offers some good benefits that i have been very happ with. I had maternity leave with some benefits, get paid leave (6 weeks); so all in I am very happy with the type of benefits and contract that i have.

carabossse Thu 04-Jul-13 16:29:44

Private sector worker here. I think the main issue is that it feels like employees are less likely to have employment security - due to things outside the employee's direct control e.g. globalisation, redundancies due to changes in corporate strategy etc. So relying on your employer is fine when things are going well but if you lose your job, your safety net (life assurance, critical illness etc ) can disappear too .

Making use of opportunities for flexible hours and working from home helps. In my industry though there's a lot of unnecessary business travel - not for client meetings, just internal meetings that could be handled in other ways without meeting face to face.

Charlene1 Thu 04-Jul-13 20:17:46

I would love to work from home or flexiwork, but I'm not allowed in my job. sad Managers and sales reps can though. Pension is good though as you get free life insurance worth 3.5 times salary for death in service, and you get 5 fully paid sick days a year. No income protection though.

nerysw Thu 04-Jul-13 21:21:12

I work for a council and get benefits such as flexi-time, the chance to go part time after having children and childcare vouchers.

zipzap Thu 04-Jul-13 21:22:20

I do bits and bobs of freelance work which means that we tend to look at it as a bit of a bonus these days rather than income we need to rely on and it therefore has zero benefits attached. Once the children are older I'm hoping to get back into work although I suspect the benefits (notably pension) will be lots worse than they were when I left a few years ago.

DH works for a large multinational and can choose from assorted benefits including buying back some extra holiday, extra pension contributions, family health and dental plans and critical illness. Some stuff comes automatically not sure where the exact line lies between what everyone gets, what is dependent on his grade and which are the extras he chooses (or doesn't). I just know that he does buy back some extra holiday each year which is great.

And while he doesn't work flexibly per se, he does work from home and often ends up having work meetings at weird times of the day and night as he works on teams that have members in the US, China and India amongst other places. So he is able to work a bit flexibly unofficially in lieu - one week he might have some late night meetings that don't start until 11pm so he doesn't feel too bad about starting at 10am one day the next week in order to go to a parent's assembly to watch the dc say.

littlemonkeychops Thu 04-Jul-13 21:29:59

I work for a medium-large private company.

I work part time but was very lucky to get it agreed, the culture is to not really allow it. I don't think i get less benefits for being part time (illegal surely?!).

I have private healthcare and death in service cover for 3x my salary.

No idea what sick pay or longterm sick benefits i would be entitled to.

CheeryCherry Thu 04-Jul-13 22:30:57

Yes I am allowed to work part time, for which I am very grateful. I do get 6 months sick pay after being there 2 years, then 6 months half pay.But I get no additional benefits, no income protection, and a very poor pension. Good thing I like my job!

Snog Fri 05-Jul-13 19:06:33

~ Does your employer provided benefits package entitle you to flexible working to help make it easier for you to carry out caring responsibilities? No
~ Does it entitle you to income protection so that if you become ill you have the best chance of getting better quickly - without having to worry about losing your monthly wage - so as not to impact on your caring responsibilities? For a limited time I would get full salary, then half salary, then nothing - but could potentially b
~ Are you entitled to fewer employer provided benefits because you work part time, and does this impact your ability to carry out your caring responsibilities? no

I'm going to answer twice - once for my old career and again for my new one.

Old career: utility industry

~ Does your employer provided benefits package entitle you to flexible working to help make it easier for you to carry out caring responsibilities?
Technically yes, but many women who did go part-time later lost out in restructurings. Senior management took a dim view of it. Sexist, yes!

~ Does it entitle you to income protection so that if you become ill you have the best chance of getting better quickly - without having to worry about losing your monthly wage - so as not to impact on your caring responsibilities?
There was a generous sick pay scheme (six months full-pay, six months half-pay).

~ Are you entitled to fewer employer provided benefits because you work part time, and does this impact your ability to carry out your caring responsibilities?
All financial benefits were pro-rata for part-time folks. All else was exactly the same.

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