How employers can ensure benefits are both inclusive and equitable

International women's day concept poster. Woman sign illustration background. 2024 women's day campaign theme- #InspireInclusion

As the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is to ‘inspire inclusion’, in this article, GRiD, the industry body for the group risk sector, reminds employers that group risk benefits are an effective way for employers to be inclusive.

Gender parity with employee benefits

Swiss Re’s Group Watch 2023 Report shows that fewer women have group risk insurance than men, and those that do have lower benefit levels than men across all product types (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness).

To some extent this mirrors the current ONS gender split of employees in the private sector and the fact that women are still paid less on average than men. As benefits are often connected to pay, this has consequences for all areas of benefits too.

However, group risk benefits themselves, including additional services commonly associated where benefits are insured, are both inclusive and equitable and generally can be offered to everyone regardless of their sex, gender, position, salary, race, ethnicity, or state of health.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD, said: “We would encourage employers to take action to drive gender parity in employee benefits, especially when it comes to protection benefits.

“Men and women have equal requirements for access to no or low-cost financial protection and this is especially true for those who can’t afford to make their own provision, have health conditions or are living with conditions that might mean they would either be declined or charged extra premiums for cover under an individual policy.

“Employers would do well to compare the number of men and women who hold workplace-based group risk protection benefits and to take action to narrow the gap, should they find one: in many cases, I suspect they will.”

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