Financial wellbeing is being overlooked

Employee loan schemes can be introduced to help workers facing financial difficulties

Money is one of the biggest causes of stress for UK workers, according to Hays' group head of reward Rosemary Lemon.

Speaking at a recent London HR Connection event, Lemon said that “young workers aged 25 to 35 in particular face a generational wealth gap”.

“There is a generation of boomerang kids who go to university then move back home as they cannot afford to rent or to get onto the property ladder and often struggle to save,” she explained.

Financial wellbeing is often overlooked in the wider employee wellbeing conversation, she continued. But as a major cause of stress it is an area that employers should take more action on.

“For Hays, wellbeing is made up of five key pillars: health, money, life, environment, and learning and development,” Lemon said. “We need to balance these pillars to help employee wellbeing and, in turn, productivity.”

This led Hays to partner with financial wellbeing solutions provider SalaryFinance on a scheme to help employees save or become debt-free, and to build financial confidence and resilience. It works by providing low-interest loans that are repaid through salary sacrifice.

“People face financial difficulties all the time but there is a taboo around the subject,” said Verity Buck, client director at SalaryFinance. “These loans gives employees the confidence that they can turn to their employers for support.”

Buck went on to explain that as repayments come “directly from salaries, employees don’t struggle to pay them back".

“The loans must take into account two things – affordability and being a responsible employer. So we do affordability checks on employees and cap the maximum loan amount to protect employees from getting into more debt,” she said.

Lemon and Buck agreed that more should also be done to educate employees about pensions, and to dispel the myth that they're complex and difficult to understand.

Lemon said, “It’s about cutting out the jargon and talking in real-life terms about finances so that employees both understand the options available to them and feel open to talking about them.”