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Eyecare - A clearer picture (Whitepaper)

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Understanding your obligations and getting a programme that works for your organisation. …

Understanding your obligations and getting a programme that works for your organisation.

Employee eyecare is an important HR and health and safety policy area for employers. Not only is good vision critical for employees to do their jobs safely and effectively – whether that is driving or using one of the many screens which dominate today’s work environment – it is a critical component of employee wellbeing.

Unfortunately for employers, it is also an area where new rules regularly emerge which have an impact on the extent to which organisations must take responsibility for their employee’s eye health. The latest of these coming in January 2013 with a little noticed change to the rules which apply to the licences of bus or HGV drivers.

This report is designed to clarify employer obligations as they currently stand and map out the key issues to consider when reviewing or planning an employee eyecare programme.

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  • 1. Eyecare:A clearer pictureUnderstanding your obligations andgetting a programme that works foryour organisation
  • 2. 2http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubContentsEmployee eyecare – a clearer picture 3Your obligations as an employer 4Getting the right policy 6Implementing a corporate eyecare programme 8Communicating your eyecare programme 10
  • 3. 3http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubEmployee eyecare – aclearer pictureEmployee eyecare is an important HR and health andsafety policy area for employers. Not only is good visioncritical for employees to do their jobs safely and effectively– whether that is driving or using one of the many screenswhich dominate today’s work environment – it is a criticalcomponent of employee wellbeing.Unfortunately for employers, it is also an area wherenew rules regularly emerge which have an impact on theextent to which organisations must take responsibility fortheir employee’s eye health. The latest of these comingin January 2013 with a little noticed change to the ruleswhich apply to the licences of bus or HGV drivers.This report is designed to clarify employer obligationsas they currently stand and map out the key issuesto consider when reviewing or planning an employeeeyecare programme.“Eyecare is acritical componentof employeewellbeing”
  • 4. 4http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubAs an employer you have an obligation to look after thewellbeing of your employees at work while complyingwith any relevant employment or health and safety laws.With regard to employee eyecare, it is useful to thinkabout the three categories which have an impact on yourorganisation.1) Direct responsibility – VDU and protectiveeyewearThese are the areas such as VDU (Visual Display Unit)use or the provision of the right safety equipment such asprotective goggles which are clear cut in the law.VDU use comes under health and safety law. Forthose who use a screen at a workstation, employersare obliged to provide an annual sight test and basiccorrective glasses if they are needed to use a VDU.Protective eyewear covers visors or goggles whichemployees need to do their work safely. Again,employers are obliged to provide this equipment.2) Indirect responsibility – driver eyecareThe introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act in2008 has created significant uncertainty around howemployers should manage their approach to drivereyecare.While employers are not directly compelled to takeresponsibility for the vision of employees who drive atwork, there is still a potential legal risk from this legislationfor employers whose employees cause, or are involvedin an accident while driving at work. Perhaps moreimportant are the personal, reputational and commercialconsequences caused by poor driver eyecare which havesignificant direct costs to employers and employees.Your obligations as anemployer“As an employeryou have anobligation to lookafter the wellbeingof your employeesat work whilecomplying withany relevantemployment orhealth and safetylaws.”
  • 5. 5http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubThe two key areas for employers to consider arounddriver eyecare are as follows:New obligations for bus and HGV drivers – anew EU directive introduced from January 2013stipulated the need for bus and HGV drivers to certifytheir fitness to drive every five years as a conditionto licence renewal. Eye health is a critical elementof overall driver health and employers need to thinkabout the extent to which they can ensure the fitnessto drive of their drivers.The formal and the informal fleet of companydrivers – these are not just the people who make uptheir formal fleet – that is the drivers who are regularlyout on the roads on company business – but the“informal fleet” of those who drive less frequently orinadvertently on company business. All drivers shouldhave clarity around their responsibilities for eyecareand its role in safe driving, while employers need toarticulate their expectations and the support they willgive.In both instances the key issue for employers is to clarifypolicy and consider how, rather than simply operatingwithin the law, they support employees and reducethe scope for vehicle-related accidents to disrupt theirorganisations.3) New responsibilitiesWith regular changes to employment and health andsafety legislation and significant changes in the waypeople work, the question of an employer’s duty of care isan area which rarely stands still and is nearly always opento challenge.Smart phones and tablets which are now so widely used– frequently by those who would not have used a VDUbefore – are also covered by the existing VDU legislationand employers need to think how such use sits with theirduty of care obligations.In addition, with many organisations proactively tacklingemployee health issues which impact on performance aspart of corporate wellbeing programmes, employers needto consider how a proactive approach to eyecare shouldfit into this overall approach – reducing costs of sicknessabsence and mitigating against risks.2,900ROAD TRAFFICCASUALTIESRESULTED FROMPOOR VISIONIN 2010**Fit to Drive Cost Benefit analysis 2012 -http://news.rsagroup.com/assets/view/808
  • 6. 6http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubThe best approach for ensuring your organisation iscomplying with all its obligations around employeeeyecare is to put in place a policy which is up-to-date andreviewed regularly. This will clear up any ambiguity aroundwhat is expected of employees with regard to eyecareand also clarify the support you will give.Here there are four key steps for employers to consider.1) Purpose and scopeThis is where you explain what your eyecare policy isdesigned to do and which employees will be affected.Employees need to be clear about the activities whichcome under your eyecare policy such as driving, screenuse and work which requires protective eyewear.You should also clarify why you are doing it. This shouldspell out the need for a safe working environment forall employees, the importance of employees being fit towork and, in the case of drivers, ensuring that the peoplewho drive vehicles as part of their role minimise any riskto their health and the health of other road users whendriving on company business.It is important to watch for any anomalies in the policy atthis point: an example might be putting in place a policywhich gives a handful of head office workers vouchers foreyewear for screen use but one which fails to provide fordrivers out on the road.2) Responsibilities: employer and employeeThe next area is to clarify what you will do as an employerand the responsibilities of your employees with regard toeyecare.Here employers should specify that they will provide sighttests for VDU users, drivers on company business andthose who need protective eyewear.Getting the right policy“Employees needto be clear aboutthe activitieswhich come underyour eyecarepolicy such asdriving, screenuse and workwhich requiresprotectiveeyewear.”
  • 7. 7http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubYou should also outline what employees must do.This should stipulate their responsibility for a regulareye examination and their responsibility to ensure ifdriving on company business their eye health meets therequirements of current vehicle licencing.3) ComplianceWith so many grey areas around employer responsibilityfor driver eyecare, compliance is critical in ensuringeyecare provision translates into employees getting eyechecks.To do this your policy should state the need foremployees to provide proof that they have had their eyestested and that they don’t need to wear glasses. Forthose who wear glasses, you should ask for a signeddocument stating that they will wear these at all times ifdriving on company business and that their vision meetsthe standards of the relevant licence.4) Recording and reviewThe last part of developing your policy should identifya process for ensuring it is kept up-to-date and, if it isnew, for managing its roll out. You will need to developan appropriate system to log existing employees andnew joiners and then all users that have been providedwith eye tests to ensure that they are followed up at therequired time (normally every two years).Key questions: getting your eyecare policy rightAre the right people in my organisation covered?• Are the responsibilities for employees and employer clear?• Is the right person in charge of the policy?• Do we have supporting documentation and a process to• track this?
  • 8. 8http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubWhen it comes to implementing an eyecare programme,many organisations choose to work with an externalpartner who can ensure it runs smoothly by taking awaythe administration, delivery and, in some instances,helping with communication.In order to do this effectively, organisations need to thinkabout the needs of the business and its employees. Thissection outlines the important questions to consider inboth areas.1) Do they understand my organisation?Different businesses have different needs according tosize, structure and location. Your corporate eyecarepartner should understand how your business works,specific eyecare issues for your industry and commonissues around communication. They should be able toadd value and insight based on experience.2) How easy will implementation be?For many organisations, a trouble free roll-out of aneyecare programme is a top priority. A clear processbacked up by good ongoing account management iscritical to this. The eyecare partner you work with shouldbe able to talk you through each step from engagementto implementation and ongoing programme management.3) What is the real cost of the deal proposed?Money may be tight in organisations, but so too is yourtime. To clearly assess overall cost – rather than headlinecost – you need to consider the time you and yourteam will need to be dedicated to making things workwith each supplier and the extent to which the extraadministration will fall to you or your eyecare partner.4) How flexible is the scheme?Every organisation needs to consider whether they wantto tie themselves to a single deal with a retail chain or gofor flexibility which gives employees vouchers which canImplementing a corporateeyecare programme“For manyorganisations, atrouble free roll-out of an eyecareprogramme is atop priority.”
  • 9. 9http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubbe used more widely. Many employers see choice as akey driver of uptake of eyecare schemes while employeesoften want the convenience of using a familiar opticianclose to home or close to work.5) What kind of reporting can I expect?With compliance playing a critical part of the successof an eyecare programme, you need to understand theextent to which your eyecare partner will deliver reportson eye tests and voucher take up, and so making lifeeasier for the person managing the programme.6) Have they got a track record?The last area to consider is the extent to which youreyecare partner is used to working with organisationslike yours and can provide a good cultural fit to make thepartnership as easy as possible.Cash or vouchers?One question many organisations need to ask is whether they should use a cashor voucher system to deliver eyecare: so, what are the pros and cons?Cash schemes tend to work either through reimbursement or petty cash. Ad hocschemes may work in the smallest businesses, but the administration associatedwith reimbursement, providing cash and tracking eye tests creates a burden.The varied costs of eye tests and spectacles depending on prescription, locationand optician means that there can be a lack of control over expenses, especiallywhen there is no value at which employers can cap reimbursement. Additionally,schemes which require employees to pay ‘up front’ can undermine take-up anddefeat the purpose of the programme you put in place.Voucher schemes work by having an account with a voucher supplier andpurchasing the required amount of eyecare vouchers upfront for a fixed cost.These are then offered to employees to be redeemed when they have an eye test.Vouchers are also available to help with the cost of corrective spectacles shouldthey be required.This option means there are no sudden demands for petty cash advances andno varied expense claims to reimburse. Nor is there any possibility of misuse, asvouchers can only be used for their intended purpose and cannot be convertedinto cash. Some suppliers also provide a ‘certificate of recommendation’ to recordwho has had a sight test and if they are eligible for spectacles.
  • 10. 10http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubCommunicating youreyecare programmeThe last element employers need to consider in puttingan eyecare programme in place is how it will be promotedto employees.Because eyecare is a ‘must do’ it often falls down thelist of benefits communication. This means organisationsmiss the opportunity to position it as an employee benefit,as part of a wider wellbeing strategy to ensure that theiremployees are fit and healthy for work – which is after allthe purpose of an employee eyecare programme.Here are seven areas which organisations shouldconsider in order to effectively deliver a corporate eyecareprogramme.1) Get it on the communication agendaWhether your organisation is large or small you need tomake sure you fight for a place for eyecare in benefitscommunication.2) Get focussedOrganisations should focus on doing at least one highimpact piece of communication per year really well. Thebest opportunity for this is around National Eye HealthWeek in September each year. Vision Matters(www.visionmatters.org.uk) has a range of material whichcan help you plan.3) Target with precisionCommunication which is tailored with targeted calls toaction around eyecare for different groups of employeessuch as drivers and VDU users is important in increasingemployee awareness and action.4) Position it as a benefitMany employees may not be aware of the support youmay provide, the way it works and the fact they don’thave to pay. Position it clearly as a paid-for benefit todrive take-up and appreciation.“Position it clearlyas a paid-forbenefit to drivetake-up andappreciation.”
  • 11. 11http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehub5) Create good collateralYour communication needs to be hard to miss and cutthrough the noise by deploying collateral which takesadvantage of a range of communication channels. Whileemail or posters won’t work alone, a well-thought throughmix will have the impact you need to make a difference.6) Use your managersYour managers are likely to be the ones who bear thebrunt of questions about eyecare provision. Make thempart of your communication plan, brief them in advanceabout any awareness campaigns or communicationand put them in a position to answer any questionsconfidently.7) Don’t forget to follow upTo reinforce your communication, follow up with casestudies of those who have benefited from eyecare andshow the benefits of good eye health.
  • 12. 13http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubFor more content like this, register for E.Hub- the HR, reward and benefits knowledgeexchange:http://www.edenred.co.uk/ehubFollow us:https://twitter.com/Edenredukhttp://uk.linkedin.com/company/edenred-uk-group-Accepted in 96% of UK opticians – that’s over 7,500• outlets, the widest choice of opticians for employeesFree of National Insurance contributions for you and• your workforce, no VAT on their purchase and yourcompany costs are deductible for Corporation TaxFree communication tool kit to promote the scheme• to employees effectivelyDedicated Account Managers to offer help and• advice if you need itEdenred’s Eyecare Vouchers always see everyone right.Whether you use them for eye examinations, glasses orprescription Bollé safety spectacles, Eyecare Vouchersmean no expense claims to process or petty cash toarrange:Two levels of service available to suit yourneeds:Eyecare Vouchers™• - a quick to order book ofvouchers for you to issue to employeesEyecare Vouchers Plus™• – your own brandedwebsite where employees can request vouchersdirectly to their work or home address, taking out all theadministrative burden for youHubTo find out more call: 0843 453 4406,email: sales@edenred.co.uk,or visit: http://www.edenred.co.uk/eyecare-vouchers