Majority of employers believe workers are experiencing persistent money worries

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Ninety-six per cent of UK employers believe that some of their workers are experiencing persistent money worries.

Despite this disproportionate amount, 40% of employers have no procedures in place to help workers with financial difficulties.

This is according to a Howden research survey conducted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pandemic has already put more financial pressure on workers who have been furloughed, had reduced hours or been made redundant.

Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found 60% of those in poverty are now in work.

Fifty per cent of all employers questioned said they would signpost employees towards their workplace Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) if they suspected they were in financial difficulty.

Employers also said they would refer to a debt charity or specialist (2%) or signpost to a recognised workplace finance provider (2%) for assistance.

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Howden Employee Benefits and Wellbeing, said: “The truth of the matter is that the last decade of austerity has already left many employees in debt and struggling to balance income and outgoings. This already difficult situation is sadly only likely to get worse in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

“There are likely to be millions of workers whose financial situation has already deteriorated during the lockdown period, and who are also likely to face further money worries in the months ahead.”

Employees with money worries are seven times more likely to have lower productivity or not finish their daily tasks than their colleagues, according to the Financial Inclusion Alliance.

Herbert added: “From an employer’s perspective, the need to bounce-back to full productivity will be paramount. So it’s vital that each and every worker is able to focus on their work without money worries acting as an unwelcome distraction to this objective.

“We would therefore encourage all employers to embrace both basic and more advanced financial wellbeing support options to help employees of all ages and incomes to manage their finances better.”

Howden’s research asked 160 senior HR and finance professionals how their organisation would respond if an employee approached them regarding their personal financial problems.