Virtually every company and organisation across Ireland is required, by law, to provide eyecare for their employees. The decision is not whether to offer company-funded eyecare but how best to deliver it and what factors to consider in selecting a supplier. Specsavers Corporate Eyecare provides a five-point checklist of important considerations for employers:
- Administration – is the process simple and cost-effective?
Reimbursing employees via expenses can prove costly and inconsistent, as well as taking more time than is necessary when it comes to managing eyecare. It is now possible to purchase, distribute and manage employee eyecare digitally. Eyecare eVouchers can be bought online and emailed to the relevant members of staff, for them to redeem with the optician for the appropriate eyecare solution. It is also possible to keep simple records of who has redeemed their voucher and when their next examination is due. Employers may also wish to consider whether they will be tied into a contract for a set period of time or number of visits. In more difficult financial times, flexibility if often key.
- Wider health benefits – is digital retinal screening available?
Digital retinal photography is a sophisticated process that allows the optometrist to take a detailed picture of the back of the eye. This helps with the detection and monitoring of not just sight-related problems but also a range of other conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, risk of stroke and symptoms associated with brain tumours. With obvious benefits towards reducing absenteeism, it makes sense for employers to consider whether their selected provider offers this high level of diagnostic care.
- Location – will all employees be able to easily access eyecare?
Multi-site companies, or organisations with employees who commute to work, need to consider the logistics of their staff visiting the optician. Does the selected optician have stores conveniently located for all offices and satellite facilities? Will staff be able to visit a store near their home if it is more convenient?
- Choice – does the optician offer a wide range from which to choose?
The aesthetics of glasses are clearly important to wearers. For employees to appreciate the benefit of eyecare, they need to be happy with the end product as well as the service. It is worth considering the choice and range offered by an optician. Do they sell designer frames as well as their own brand? Do they offer frames in different sizes to suit smaller and larger faces? Do they have a broad selection of styles, from modern, to retro, to traditional?
- Value – does the optician offer a service that will be valued by employees?
While corporate eyecare is compulsory for most companies and organisations, it can still be highly valued as an employee benefit and, if so, can become even greater value for money. It is worth considering what additional benefits an optician offers. Do they have discount vouchers or two-for-one deals? Importantly, can these be used in conjunction with corporate programmes? Do they offer discounts to the rest of the family? Do they have a good reputation for quality, are they trusted and will staff feel confident in their care?
Abby Pringle, corporate accounts manager for Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, says: ‘There is a lot to consider in selecting the right eyecare provider but, once the employer has decided upon the best solution for them and their employees, eyecare should become a very simple, self-managing process, that will require virtually no input from the employer or their HR personnel. Eyecare should not only cover the basic requirement of Health and Safety law but also become a valued benefit among staff.’
The law and every employer’s obligation
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work, (General Application) Regulations 2007, Chapter 5 of Part 2 outline the requirements that must be adhered to in relation to Display Screen Equipment. In short, every employer is required to provide company-funded eyecare for all screen users. Add to this the number of employees entitled to eyecare regarding a need for Safety Eyewear and those who are provided with eyecare because they drive for work purposes, and virtually all employees across Ireland are covered.
For more information on the health and safety regulations, visit: http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Workplace_Health