Compulsory eyecare: Smaller companies not meeting obligations - Larger employers still overpaying

April 2012

Research by Specsavers Corporate Eyecare has highlighted how small firms are not meeting their health and safety obligations and large companies are paying well over the odds for regulatory eyecare.

Of the companies surveyed employing less than 10 people, 65% (nearly two-thirds) have no eyecare policy or no formal system in place at all. Further still, the remaining 35% (over a third) still reimburse employees via expenses for eyecare and the not one company uses a voucher scheme. The larger companies fair a little better as they do all meet their corporate responsibility with all of those employing between 1,001 and 5,000 people providing company-funded eyecare for screen users. However, they may be paying well over the odds as while 40% use eyecare vouchers, the remaining 60% still reimburse through expenses.

Specsavers Corporate Eyecare also asked employers in companies of all sizes about their attitude to the cost of eyecare provision. Perhaps surprisingly, when choosing a supplier, cost was placed as being of the ‘utmost importance’ by just 9% of companies with less than 100 employees. For organisations with over 5,000 employees, a much bigger 22% felt that cost was of the utmost importance.

With huge variations in opticians’ fees, reimbursing via expenses typically costs the employer £33 - £83 more than using voucher schemes and can cost well over £100 more. With eyecare vouchers available that can be purchased at the same low cost for one or one thousand vouchers, savings are possible for companies of all sizes.

The unnecessary costs incurred will have a big impact on small companies that simply cannot afford to pay more than is necessary for benefits. For the large companies, however, the overspend may be even more frightening when multiplied by the number of employees requiring eyecare.

Laura Butler, corporate account manager at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says: “Eyecare is a complex issue in the workplace as it is both a valued employee benefit and a necessary health and safety requirement. Companies of all sizes should carefully research the most appropriate method of eyecare provision for them. Huge savings can be made in both time and cost, with no loss of quality.”

The lack of any eyecare policy or formal system in place for the majority of small companies is worrying. More information regarding the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) regulations can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk.

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