Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK now has more than 10 million workers aged 50 and above, representing 31 per cent of the total workforce. And, as people live longer and the state pension age increases, this figure is set to rise.
As employers will know, the needs and concerns of this age group will be different to those of their younger workers and, as such, require benefits specifically tailored to their circumstances.
Our own research conducted in 2017 revealed that the top five benefits most valued by employees aged 55 and above were a pension (96 per cent), health insurance (91 per cent), flexible working (86 per cent), life insurance (84 per cent) and legal advice (83 per cent).
These figures give a clear overall picture of the sorts of concerns older employees have and can provide the basis for a benefits programme tailored more specifically to their needs.
Although auto-enrolment means that workplace pensions are now available to employees of all ages, and group health and life insurance are established benefits, legal advice is often hidden away in an employee assistance programme (EAP). The low usage levels of this provision suggest that employees either don’t know the benefit exists or don’t understand what constitutes a ‘legal’ issue.
Older employees, however, face a number of legal issues that, though often considered gloomy, need serious consideration if they are to protect their own future welfare and the interests of their family.
Below we list five legal concerns your 50-plus employees may be facing and suggest a way for you to help them.
1. How can I safeguard my family’s financial wellbeing after my death?
Making a will is the only way to ensure that your estate – your property, money and belongings – are passed on to your family members exactly as you would wish. Not having a will in place when you die – known as dying intestate – means that the state effectively decides who gets what based on the rules of intestacy. Furthermore, dying without a will often results in delays in getting all the financial matters sorted and can lead to family disputes and hardship.
2. Who will look after my children should I die before they reach 18?
As people are generally starting families later in life or have children from second marriages, the number of 50-plus employees with dependent children is set to increase. Our own research in 2018 revealed that 28 per cent of employees aged 55-plus had children aged 18 or younger living with them.