A Guide to Employee Benefits

Employee benefits are the backbone of a safe and fair working environment. If employers are unsure of where to start, you should take a look at the merits of an employee benefit platform via Zest Benefits. Make sure your staff are happy with the merits of the following benefits.

Illness or Injury

Sick pay covers employees when they, like the name implies, are ill or have been injured. Most employees are entitled to £94.25 a week after their first four days off sick as Statutory Sick Pay. It can cover them for up to 28 weeks. Some employers offer an Occupational Sick Pay scheme which will cover employees for a longer period.

Income Protection pays a proportion of your lost earnings if you have to take a long absence due to injury and illness. It usually pays 60-80 per cent of the employees’ regular salary and covers pre-existing and new conditions of the employee.

Dental and optical insurance will usually just cover the cost of routine examinations not covered by the NHS, like hygienists, fillings, crowns, etc. and can contribute to more expensive treatments such as implants or orthodontics. Optical insurance will cover routine eye care such as glasses, contact lenses and eye tests, and usually pays a lump sum in the event of temporary or permanent loss of sight. There is a set limit though.

Critical illness insurance offers an employee a lump sum, tax-free, if they are diagnosed with a number of various medical conditions. These illnesses are usually long-term and serious such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. Employees can receive Private Medical Insurance, a health cash plan, or a health screening. PMI covers private medical treatment for certain conditions. Health cash plans allow your employee to pay a monthly fee to cover routine medical and dental expenses. Health screening is a regular check-up to identify any conditions employees may be unaware of.


Workplace ISA’s are designed as an extra chance for employees to save money. Employees can invest in stocks and shares direct from their salary and returns are tax-free. However, investments can go down and up and therefore you may get back less than what you pay in. There are various options such as the Cash ISA’s, the Stock and Shares (S&S) ISA, the junior ISA, and the lifetime ISA.

Old Age

Created to fund an employee through their retirement, 76 per cent of UK employees have adapted the workplace pension scheme in 2018. Defined contribution pension schemes are the most common, with the employee and their employer each putting a set amount of money into their pension account. There is also defined benefit pension schemes in which rates depend on your pension’s schemes rules rather than how much you have paid in. These rules are based on a formula, including the employee’s final salary, an average salary over time or how long they’ve been with the company. Employees can usually ask to gain 25 per cent of their pension tax-free and the rest will be delivered as regular payments.


Life insurance offers a tax-free lump sum to next of kin if an employee dies. Created to provide support for the people who depend on your employer financially such as family members, it is based on a multiplication of their annual salary. These numbers range depending on the policy.


A car allowance offers an employee an extra payment for the purpose of allowing them to buy a car for work. Some employees offer a mileage allowance to cover petrol or will provide an employee with a car via their company car scheme.

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