A cancer diagnosis would cause almost three in four (72%) UK workers to struggle financially, new research by Canada Life has found.
According to Macmillan, the average amount lost by 80% of families after a cancer diagnosis, stands at £570 a month – impacting mortgage payments and other necessary expenditure.
Canada Life Group’s findings also reveal that two in five UK employees say they would be unable to meet essential payments including utility bills (72%), the weekly food shop (57%) and mortgage or rent payments (43%) if faced with the £570 reduction in monthly income.
Sadly, employees are suffering more than they should be, with financial wellbeing often an afterthought and not seen as a necessity.
Only 18% of employees have some form of critical illness or income protection cover to help them financially if they developed a serious illness. This causes many to turn to their savings.
Shockingly, the average UK employees’ savings (£3,292) would last less than six months. In the case of nearly one in five (18%) who have no savings at all, the situation worsens.
Nearly half (45%) said they would need to apply for State benefits to get by, however, these are becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for, with the amount of financial assistance given to those unable to work due to illness (but capable of some work-related activity) dropping from £5,312 to £3,801 per year.
With the average UK worker spending £1,000 a month, it’s unlikely that they would be able to make ends meet with little access to cash.
Paul Avis, Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance, notes that whilst cancer and serious illness treatment is improving, employees are not doing enough to plan financially.
He said: “As cancer survival rates also rise, more will undergo extended periods of treatment, likely resulting in a leave of absence from work and a reduction of income. It’s clear from our research that most families would struggle to cope with this financially, but few have protection in place to provide the support they would need.”
“With the ability to meet essential areas of expenditure such as housing, utility and food costs at risk, employers should consider the workplace benefits they can offer to prevent valued members of staff having to experience such hardship,” Avis concludes.