Less than half of young and old Canadian workers are covered by employer sick leave and disability leave plans, which means that when they need time off due to an illness or disability, they can’t have it. Canadians facing mental health issues are also vulnerable when it comes to coverage.

This is according to a new report by the Conference Board of Canada, called Disability Management: Opportunities for Employer Action.

The study shows that only a third of employees between the ages of 18 and 24 have any paid sick days or short-term disability coverage. Just one quarter have coverage in the event of a long-term disability.

The report also reveals that less than half of workers over the age of 65 have paid sick days or short-term disability leave, and only 41% have long-term disability coverage.

“As a country, we need to be conscious of the importance of sick leave and disability management programs on vulnerable groups of employees,” says Karla Thorpe, author of the report and director of the leadership and human resources research division at the organization.

“Both young people and seniors are more likely to have casual, contract or part-time jobs that can be less secure and offer fewer benefits. As we enter a period of tight labour markets, employers will need to think about how to best engage these two segments of workers to ensure they remain healthy and productive at work.”

Additionally, the study finds that employees facing mental health issues are somewhat more vulnerable than workers dealing with physical health issues.

More companies offer supportive programs and services for physical health issues (61%) than mental health issues (53%). Slightly more than half (52%) of respondents say programs and services that support their physical health are helpful. But fewer (40%) feel the same way about mental health support provided by their employer.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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