Negative impact on physical and mental wellbeing of Irish workers under Covid-19 highlighted in national research


  • One in three employees in Ireland are vulnerable workers with an underlying condition
  • Four in 10 Irish workers (39%) are struggling to cope with everyday life under Covid-19
  • 91% of Irish workers have reported some level of anxiety during Covid-19
  • One in 10 are seeking help with their mental wellbeing
  • Estimated cost of returning employees to work is €37,138
  • Almost eight out of 10 (78%) have not taken any sick leave since March


02 September 2020: One in three employees in Ireland are vulnerable workers, with an underlying health condition such as asthma, diabetes or cardiac issues, according to new research released by laya healthcare. The survey — the first of its kind in Ireland to include both employers and over 1000 employees across all industries and sectors — also found four in 10 Irish workers (39%) are struggling to cope with everyday life during Covid-19 and 91% have reported some level of anxiety. Over half cited a fear of a second surge their main cause of anxiety. However, just one in 10 are seeking external professional help for their mental wellbeing and almost eight in 10 workers have not taken any sick leave since March.


The research further reveals companies predict an average expense of €37,138 on returning employees to the workplace, such as putting in place new infrastructure, PPE provision and running wellness programmes. 14% of Irish employers are predicting costs of €50,000 or more. Larger organisations are more likely to be providing mental wellbeing services to support staff returning to the workplace. However, just 45% of the pharma, manufacturing and IT sectors are providing such services for those returning to the workplace and just 39% in other sectors.


Commenting on the research, Sinead Proos, Head of Health and Wellbeing at laya healthcare said: “These results highlight the implications we must consider as we try to work and maintain ‘business as usual’ during a pandemic. The majority of Irish workers (91%) reported some level of anxiety, in part due to concern about getting sick from Covid-19, family and friends getting sick and worrying about a second surge.


“To address workers’ concerns, protect the one in three employees who are vulnerable workers and fully comply with health and safety guidelines, long-term investment in building resources, education and training needs to be made. With over 270,000 companies operating in Ireland*, the total cost of returning employees to workplaces could well be in the region of €10 billion. The coming months are going to be incredibly challenging. Early intervention and a culture of resilience needs to be prioritised to manage people’s mental and physical wellbeing long-term — both for those working in the office and remotely. Irish employers should ask themselves, ‘is my workforce coping, and if not, do we have the right tools to support them over the coming months and years?’.”


The research conducted by Spark has been announced ahead of laya healthcare’s upcoming virtual event, The Great Reset: A Brave New Era of Work and Wellbeing which takes place on 14 September 2020. The panel discussion will feature Sinead Proos, Dr Emelina Ellis, Counselling Psychologist, and employment law specialist Jennifer Cashman from Ronan Daly Jermyn law firm.  It will reveal findings of one of the largest-ever research carried out among Irish employees and arm HR leaders with practical approaches and tips on implementing health and wellbeing in their own organisations. Register for the event at


Further research findings:

  • Key challenges of working from home
  • Impact on GP access

The research found 30% report loneliness and isolation were the key challenges of working from home, with 40% citing reduced interaction with work colleagues.

29% needed to see their GP but couldn’t get an appointment. The same percentage of those surveyed needed to see a GP but felt too scared to visit a surgery.

  • Sick leave and holidays

Almost eight out of 10 (78%) have not taken any sick leave since March while 62% have taken fewer holidays than usual.


* According to Central Statistics Office Business Demography 2018



For further information, or to arrange an interview with Sinead Proos, please contact:

Maria Tracey, Springboard PR & Marketing,

083 1917314, + 353 21 496 9000


Susie Horgan, Springboard PR & Marketing

086 271 8163, + 353 21 496 9000


Notes on Research: 


Laya Healthcare’s The Great Reset: A Brave New Era of Work and Wellbeing Research was conducted by Spark — The Strategic Insight Agency. The Research involved 1,004 online interviews amongst employees and 188 online interviews with employers. Six one-hour digital in-depth interviews with HR leaders/ business owners also took place. The research was conducted from 17 to 27 July.

 Notes to Editor: 

About laya healthcare:

Laya Healthcare members can avail of some of the most innovative health insurance benefits and services in the Irish health insurance market along with life insurance ( and travel insurance ( Its brand promise, Looking After You Always, represents laya healthcare’s member-centric approach, which is fundamental to its vision and values.

Laya Healthcare is proudly part of AIG, one of the leading global insurance organisations in the world. Building on 100 years of experience AIG now serves customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. With their experienced team and innovative insurance solutions, along with AIG’s financial backing, global expertise and long-term commitment to Ireland, laya healthcare expect to go from strength to strength, widening their offering and bringing value and innovation to Ireland’s insurance market.

Health Insurance provided by Elips Insurance Limited (Inc. Liechtenstein) trading as Laya Healthcare. Laya Healthcare Limited, trading as Laya Healthcare and Laya Life, is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Life Insurance provided by IptiQ Life S.A. (Inc. Luxembourg). Travel insurance is provided by AIG AIG Europe S.A. (Ireland Branch).