Employers brace for mental health crisis

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Sept. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Mental health, modified school schedules, and more leave requests are some of employers' biggest challenges heading into the Fall. Many companies made accommodations to make their business and their employees more resilient for what's ahead, according to new research from employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) among more than 400 companies in August.

"It's no surprise mental health concerns are mounting," said Rob Hecker, vice president of Global Total Rewards at Unum. "Companies that use accommodations, mental health benefits, and virtual solutions will be better equipped to weather the storm."

Mental health tsunami looms ahead

    --  85% of employers are concerned with employees' mental health as the
        COVID-19 pandemic continues.
    --  Three out of five employers have plans or offerings to specifically
        address employee mental health.
    --  More than half (58%) of employers saw an increase in the use of mental
        health benefits during the pandemic, and two out of three companies
        expect an uptick in the Fall.

Modified school schedules mean new accommodations

    --  Nearly nine out of ten (87%) employers predict modified school schedules
        will be a challenge for employees.
    --  Top impacts employers anticipate include employee productivity, increase
        in leave requests, shifting employee workloads due to employee absences,
        and mental health.
    --  More than half (57%) of employers are making specific accommodations to
        help employees balance work with modified school schedules.
    --  Top accommodations include flexible work schedules (76%), full-time
        work-from-home arrangements (58%), reduced work hours (48%), childcare
        services (39%), paid leave (29%), among others.

COVID-19 shapes a new enrollment experience for employees

    --  Nearly half (47%) plan to change the way they communicate about employee
        benefits. Most of this shift involves increased online materials and
        virtual meetings.
    --  Three-fourths (76%) of employers will offer virtual group meetings, half
        (52%) will offer online educational materials, 42% will offer virtual
        one-to-one meetings with benefits counselors, and a quarter (26%) will
        offer a virtual benefits fair.

To learn more about Unum's latest Employer Insights Report, including tips and best practices for future-proofing your business against these challenges, visit Unum HR Trends.

About Unum
Unum Group provides a broad portfolio of financial protection benefits and services through the workplace, and is the leading provider of disability income protection worldwide. Through its Unum US, Unum UK, Unum Poland, and Colonial Life businesses, the company provides disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental and vision benefits that protect millions of working people and their families. Unum also provides leave and absence management services that streamline the leave experience for employers and employees, and stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against medical costs. Unum reported revenues of $12 billion in 2019 and paid $7.5 billion in benefits.

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SOURCE Unum Group