Towergate Insurance has called on employers to consider disabilities when putting together their health and wellbeing programmes, and actively encourage an “open culture” in the workplace.
While many wellbeing benefits that are already in place may offer assistance to employees with disabilities, Towergate is calling on employers to support their staff more.
For instance, global employee assistance programmes (EAPs) have been specifically developed to support staff overseas.
The programme reportedly helps employees to connect with mental health resources, and overcome “non-medical barriers” to returning to work, such as confidence issues.
In addition, the group said it is also important to ensure that support for mental health is included within international private medical insurance, and added to employee benefits packages for additional help in dealing with stress and anxiety.
It comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that in the workplace, employees may keep silent about hidden disabilities to avoid discrimination, or because they do not want to be solely identified by their disability.
WHO added that, of the estimated 450 million people worldwide living with a mental or neurological condition, two-thirds (approximately 300 million people) will “not seek professional medical” help, largely due to stigma, discrimination and neglect.
Sarah Dennis, head of International at Towergate Health & Protection said: “Globally there are a huge number of people living with disabilities that are invisible, so are therefore not always given the appropriate consideration by employers and colleagues alike.
“We are encouraging employers to communicate, educate and collaborate with their staff, to help make life a little easier for the benefit of all. There are many options available to help employees with disabilities, whether hidden or obvious, to reach their full potential.”
She added: “It is a matter of employers being aware of cultural differences, encouraging an open culture, listening to the needs of their workforce and taking the time to ensure that support is included within their wellbeing packages.”