Group risk legislatioN foR SMEs
in the workplace

 

Keeping on top of legislation hotspots

There can be a lot to keep on top of in the business world – employment law, regulation, trade rules, intellectual property, health and safety…the list goes on.

Research by LawBite found that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need legal help up to eight times a year1, with a single hour of a solicitor’s time costing over £1802. For companies without the luxury of an in-house legal counsel, the cost of legal services or consultation can quickly escalate.

However, though it’s not always very obvious, legal support may be available to you through your employee benefits scheme.

Legal support as part of your employee benefits

Some Group Income Protection (GIP) policies come with legal assistance as a support service that can be accessed whenever you need it. This may be online or over the telephone, and even email newsletters - all for no extra cost besides your Group Income Protection Insurance premium.

BusinessCare, for example, is available as part of Canada Life’s Group Income Protection Insurance product. The service is provided by an independent law firm who provide advice and guidance on a whole range of legal and regulatory issues an employer may face. Documents such as employment contracts and Health and Safety policies can also be created using an online generation tool, with the outputs being reviewed and signed off by solicitors.

These services can help you stay on top of legal developments which could affect your business. Recent examples include tribunal outcomes, updates to case law and legislative changes such as GDPR, the abolition of the Default Retirement Age, Pension Auto-enrolment, Welfare Reform and others.

On top of the obvious ramifications of these events, all of these can have knock-on consequences for your employees and your company. Services like BusinessCare help avoid scenarios where things “slip through the cracks” or cause unintended issues down the line.

Below are some examples of legal support a business may need that can be covered by BusinessCare

Abolition of Default Retirement Age (DRA)

Since 2011, employers cannot enforce compulsory retirement once a worker reaches a certain age. The Group Insurance Industry secured an exemption to the anti-discrimination legislation so that insured benefits could continue to be provided to a fixed age as long as it is at least equal to someone’s State Pension Age, without the employer falling foul of age discrimination rules.

Pension auto-enrolment

A variety of benefits are linked to pension membership, such as levels of Group Life Assurance Cover or coverage of pension scheme contributions in a GIP policy. Since the launch of auto-enrolment, the purpose of differing eligibilities in Group Insurance policies has been diluted. Many potential headaches can be avoided by providing cover to all employees as standard.

Welfare Reform

State disability benefits have been consistently eroding over the last decade. Not only have the amounts been gradually reduced, such benefits are increasingly difficult to qualify for. GIP policies were historically linked to State Benefit Provision, but the gradual changes have made the relationship more complicated and less beneficial over time. Decoupling the two and designing your GIP policy around a fixed percentage of salary replacement is a simple way to ensure benefit certainty irrespective of the ongoing changes to State benefits.

 


For more information on BusinessCare or any of the benefits mentioned in this article, please contact an Elect consultant here or give us a call on 0800 0232 785.


 

Sources:

YouGov survey - https://www.lawbite.co.uk/cost-to-smes-survey/report-general
Law Gazette, 2017 - https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/city-firm-publishes-hourly-rates-in-transparency-drive/5064076.article

 


Disclaimer:

This article has been written in collaboration with Canada Life, one of Elect’s insurance providers. It is for information only and is not specific advice. It is based on our current understanding of the attributed research which may change in the future.


 

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