Shepherd Partnership has a strong commitment to the health and wellbeing of its team and, in 2009, decided to make an employer-paid cash plan available to all partners and employees by working with Sovereign Health Care. They have chosen our employer-paid Asset cash plan as a way to easily and comprehensively take care of the everyday health needs of their employees and partners, as well as those of their families.
Established more than 50 years ago, Shepherd Partnership is an accountancy practice with a team of 14. With offices in Skipton and Settle, Shepherd Partnership offers a wide range of services including auditing, payroll and auto-enrolment, VAT, tax compliance and planning, accounting and HR support. The company has a long-established client base and has supported many of its clients since they set up in business. In 2009, Shepherd Partnership decided to make an employer-paid cash plan available to all directors and employees.
Alison Spencer, Shepherd Partnership’s practice administrator and financial controller, said: “We pride ourselves on our high employee retention rate, and employee health and wellbeing is a very high priority. Prompted by the legal requirement to look after our team’s eye health and vision, we decided to look for a solution that would take care of this but would also help us look after our team’s health and wellbeing more broadly. A health care cash plan seemed to be a good, cost-effective solution for us, while offering a really positive benefit for our directors and employees.”
Having evaluated different options, Shepherd Partnership opted for an employer-paid plan from Sovereign Health Care. Alison continues: “We are a proud local business who believes in giving back locally and wanted a cash plan partner who shares these values. Our choice also needed to be financially viable with sensible pricing options.
“Sovereign fulfilled everything we were looking for. Its charity and community work was very attractive to us and, in terms of the plan itself, Sovereign’s employer paid option was comprehensive. Sovereign is also easy to work with and fast in processing claims and paying cash back. It ticked all the boxes we were looking for.”
Shepherd Partnership has now rolled out Sovereign’s Asset plan to all directors and employees. This employer-paid health care cash plan pays employees cash back towards their everyday health costs such as dental treatment, eye care and glasses/contact lenses, physiotherapy and much more. Asset also includes 24/7 access to a GP and confidential employee assistance and counselling services via an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). EAPs allow employees to deal proactively with a range of issues including stress, family and relationship matters, health concerns such as nutrition, anxiety and depression, and financial worries such as debt management, benefits, tax and budgeting.
Alison said: “Once we’d selected Sovereign, we wanted to make sure that employees understood what a health care cash plan was and that they were able to take full advantage. To get our employees on board initially, we highlighted the financial benefits it offered them – the ability to get their money back for everyday health costs being a major plus! Take up amongst new employees hasn’t been an issue. We include the plan in our induction programme, explaining it verbally and then sending the details via email. It sometimes sounds too good to be true and I think some employees can’t believe they can reclaim health costs!”
Sovereign offers three levels of cover for the Asset plan, giving businesses and their employees the flexibility to mix and match cover to suit their needs. Shepherd Partnership opted to fund the first level of cover available as part of its employee benefits package. Many of its team members have chosen to top up their cover with a salary contribution, increasing the amount that they can claim back for different treatments and, in some cases, adding partners to the plan. Dependents under 18 are covered for free, allowing employees to ensure the whole family’s health care needs are taken care of.
Alison said, “Our Directors can rest easy knowing that our employees don’t need to worry about paying for healthcare and that we are looking after our people. Our sickness leave levels are very low and we believe that the Asset plan contributes to this by allowing our employees to take care of health niggles before they become major issues. Our staff are happy to have regular eye tests because they won’t be out of pocket. This doesn’t only cover eyesight but also picks up other health issues early such as diabetes, so the regular monitoring is really important to overall health and wellbeing.
“We’ve been with Sovereign a very long time and this shows how happy we are with both the plan and the customer service they provide. The administration side of the plan has been easy as can be and the Sovereign team are always very fast to respond to anything we need. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Sovereign to other businesses. Hand on heart, it’s a fabulous scheme.”