When employers take an active role in their employees overall health they make a serious investment for their companies, according to the thirteenth edition of The sanofi-aventis Healthcare Survey.
Early disease detection, preventive care and general wellness is the overall benefit when an employer offers their employees prescription drugs, dental care, or employee assistance programs.
Even in uncertain times over half of Canadian employees think highly of their company's health care plans. That number raises when the employee feels that their employers do a good job communicating about benefit plans. The economic crisis has upped the ante when it comes to benefit packages in employees eyes.
"The survey showed us that having a health benefit plan encourages Canadian employees to stay with their current employers," Jacques L'Espérance, Survey Advisory Board Member and President, J. L'Espérance Actuariat conseil Inc. said in a press release, "Employees also think more positively of their employer because of their health benefit plan."
Coverage for prescription medication is offered to 9 out of 10 employees in Canada. It is considered by most to be the most important health benefit. Without the coverage 9 percent of the respondents said that they would not get a needed prescription filled. That figure jumps to 23 percent for those with incomes under $30,000. That medical decision can pay a higher cost than the employee's illness- higher rates of absence, disability, and health-related distraction that affects injury rates and productivity become a factor.
"When respondents were asked why they don't participate in workplace wellness, the number one answer was time. They don't have time to do their jobs, let alone attend an educational seminar or go to the fitness centre," said Jacques L'Espérance "Employers offer wellness programs on the one hand, but take them away on the other due to lack of time. This needs addressing if we hope to improve both enthusiasm for and the relevance of workplace health programs."
Up to two-thirds of workers have suffered from stress, fatigue or insomnia more often over the past year with work-related issues being the top cause. Those who are in poor or very poor health have a higher rate of insomnia and the rate increases even more for those with incomes under $30,000.