While the physical and mental wellbeing of employees is often high on the agenda of employers, financial wellness is sometimes overlooked. However, financial wellbeing could arguably be the most important of these in the current climate: having low financial wellbeing can negatively impact mental health, by contributing to stress, anxiety and depression.1
What is financial wellbeing?
Put simply, financial wellbeing is defined by how secure someone feels about money.2 If someone is lucky enough to never have to worry about money at all, they have great financial wellbeing. But someone who is stressed and anxious about money has much lower financial wellbeing.
Good financial wellbeing can be summed up in four points:
- The ability to cope with unexpected outgoings
- Total control over finances on a monthly basis
- Realistic goals, which you’re on track to achieve
- The freedom to choose the life you want to live
On the other hand; debt, income instability, spiralling household bills, bad budgeting and a lack of savings are among the issues that gnaw away at a sense of financial wellbeing, which can very quickly cause mental health problems.
As an employer, you’re not expected to be responsible for your employees’ financial wellness but, given finances are potentially one of the biggest stressors in their lives, ensuring help is easily available to them can only be a good thing.
Here are a few ways, as an employer, you can help your employees be aware of, and maintain, good financial wellbeing:
While it isn’t your job to tell people how to live their lives and manage their finances, your duty of care means that providing help, information and guidance on the matter is a good idea.
The Money Advice Service is great for this. It’s a free and impartial service that offers guidance on virtually every aspect of finances, with detailed articles, software tools and online support available.
Their website features plenty of resources, along with lots of useful FAQs and tips you’ll also find helpful as an employer. Simply signposting employees to this organisation as part of your corporate policy will provide many people with information they maybe didn’t know existed.
Assist with expenses
For those employees who regularly have to claim back expenses they have incurred to do their job, providing them with a company credit card could help ease any financial worries of having to fork out for the cost of these up front.
Financial help and benefits
You could help your employees by offering interest-free loans on annual travel or car parking passes, but you should bear in mind there may be National Insurance and tax implications.3
Offering employees the choice of salary sacrifice on benefits including pensions, childcare vouchers and company cars can help them to save additional money by reducing the amount they pay towards National Insurance and tax.
Along with the Money Advice Service, there are plenty of resources you can signpost to help employees along:
- Citizens Advice
- StepChange Debt Charity
- National Debtline
- The Pensions Advisory Service
- Debt Advice Foundation
If you’re looking for a more embedded solution, implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a great place to start. EAPs can provide confidential support on mental health, personal and work-related issues, as well as financial guidance. Having 24/7, 365 days a year access to a friendly, trained advisor who is just a phone call away can be a massive weight off the shoulder of someone struggling financially.
Sovereign Health Care’s Asset cash plan not only helps employees manage their everyday health costs better by providing them with cash back towards expenses such as dental, optical and physiotherapy, but it also includes access to a comprehensive EAP, so employees can speak to an expert about everything from financial information and gambling issues to family matters or housing concerns whenever they need to.