Only 27% of employers provide sick pay if employees were unable to work for six months, according to research from Friends Provident..
Its Welfare Reform research also found that, were they to be off work long term due to sickness, nearly one fifth (16%) of respondents would not be able to cope financially, 12% would have to dip into their savings, 11% do not know how they would survive, and 9% would have to borrow money from friends and family.
Only 13% said they could fall back on a protection insurance policy.
Just 31% of UK employees have some form of critical illness cover and 29% have some form of income protection cover, although the survey did not ask respondents if these were employer-provided or individual policies.
The research also found 81% take out travel insurance when they go abroad but nearly 59% of people believe they are more likely to suffer an injury or illness while in the UK than abroad.
Ed Stuart-Brown, head of protection sales at Friends Provident, said: “It is concerning people place such an emphasis on the short term rather than the long term when it comes to their wellbeing.
“Having insurance while they are abroad is a good thing but what happens if they return home and perhaps become unable to work due to illness or injury? They will find it a real struggle to make ends meet and if the absence is prolonged the very last thing they will be worrying about going forward is holiday insurance.
“These statistics really are worrying. In a climate where people are already under financial strain, the last thing they need to worry about is how they could afford to keep a roof over their heads in the event they are unable to work due to an accident or illness.
“By taking out some form of protection insurance such as a critical illness or income protection policy, people can have the financial freedom to continue living the lifestyle they are accustomed to and focus on getting better.”
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