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Unum launches helpline to assist employers in tackling health issues early

Unum launches its early intervention helpline to help employers and employees to tackle health issues at an early stage and reduce sickness absence.

Unum today launches its early intervention helpline, a new service to help employers and employees tackle health issues at an early stage and reduce sickness absence.

The helpline will give employers and employees access to Unum’s team of expert Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants who will provide a range of support options, from telephonic assessments and advice, through to referrals to Unum’s full range of rehabilitation services.

Unum hopes the service will help to reduce absence and ease the return to work process if employees do fall ill.  Research from the Work Foundation shows that early intervention can reduce sickness absence by 39% and cut the number of employees that leave the workforce by 50%1.

The helpline, which is available to all Unum Group Income Protection and Sick Pay Insurance customers, has been trialled through selected brokers since July and will now be rolled out more widely following positive results. During trial, 26% of cases that came through the helpline were recommended full case management services and of these 86% have reached or are on track to reach a positive return to work.

The helpline proved particularly popular with line managers who may not have the confidence or expertise to handle health issues alone. Data from the trial showed the top concerns for line managers were how to support staff with mental health issues such as depression or stress, and developing an effective return to work plan or supporting staff struggling to remain in work.

Andrew Potterton, Head of Proposition Development at Unum, said: “Protection products will help employers to support staff once they fall ill, but it is also important to tackle health problems early to make sure staff feel supported and, where possible, to prevent issues from developing into something more serious.

“Line managers play a vital role in this, but many won’t have the confidence or experience to recognise problems and handle them effectively. Our new helpline will support them by providing direct access to our skilled Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants who can advise on a range of issues, from cancer to stress.”


1 Reducing Temporary Work Absence Through Early Intervention, Work Foundation, October 2013