Depression and anxiety are the most common causes of long-term absences from work.

According to financial mutual Wesleyan, more than a third (34%) of all income protection claims made to them were due to mental health issues.

The next most common causes of long-term absence were musculoskeletal problems (13%) and cancer (13%).

Clive Bridge, managing director of life and pensions at Wesleyan, said: ‘There has been a huge drive in recent years to raise awareness of mental health issues in the workplace.

‘Depression and anxiety can keep people off work for a long time.

‘However, knowing they are still able to receive an income while they are unable to work eases the worry of how bills and expenses can still be paid, meaning they can concentrate fully on getting better.’

The findings come in the wake of Wesleyan launching its Employee Income Protection Plan, which has been developed for dental practices providing them with an additional benefit to help attract and retain staff.

Adequately covered

Wesleyan will still be providing income protection products for individuals, but this latest offering enables dental practices to ensure employees are adequately covered if they are unable to work due to illness or injury.

Clive added: ‘Dental practices can now offer better support to employees with an income protection policy that is part of an employee’s benefits package.

‘Employers are always looking at ways they can attract and retain staff with a variety of benefits.

‘It’s not uncommon for firms to offer private medical insurance, and this policy can sit alongside that, meaning not only will employees have medical expenses taken care of, they will also have comfort of knowing they will still be receiving an income while they are recuperating too.

‘We always recommend taking out income protection to insure against the worst, but, from an employee’s point of view, this new plan not only provides peace of mind, but the premiums are picked up by their employer.’