The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute recommend 7 steps to ensure employees’ financial resilience at all times:
- Boost short term savings: Employers should consider partnering with financial services providers to offer payroll savings schemes, making it easier for employees to save.
- Support access to affordable credit: Employers should offer short term loans and make larger credit facilities available to staff through payroll, allowing a lower rate of interest to be offered and helping employees to avoid fees and charges.
- Money management: Employers should offer money management tools and support as a staff benefit.
- Tackle stigma: Understanding of problem debt and financial difficulty should be included in professional development for all those managing employees. Resources to help managers support people with mental health problems, and with financial concerns, should be included in HR resources, and HR teams educated about the causes and consequences of financial difficulties.
- Access to advice and support: Employers could be an authoritative source of information for their staff, proactively distributing literature around financial wellbeing and discreetly signposting to advice services where appropriate. Where employers know an employee is facing a substantial loss of income due to reduced hours or sickness absence, they should signpost to welfare advice or, where possible, offer support and advice with relevant benefit applications.
- Reduce the cost of employment: To avoid exacerbating this problem, employers should pay for work-related expenses up front and ensure that financial hardship would not exclude a colleague from participation in social activities.
- Ensure employees can afford to get better: When determining their sick pay policies, employers should consider what impact these may have on staff willingness to take sickness absence, and the relative costs of presenteeism and longer-term absences. They should also proactively consider the benefits of group income protection policies in reducing the length of absences by minimising the financial stress of a period away from work.