Financial wellbeing moves up the agenda as employers respond to the impact of Covid-19

The latest survey by Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA)[i] into the impact of the coronavirus crisis, highlights that many employers are looking at providing financial wellbeing support, along with increased spend on some employee benefits and insurances.

REBA found that 62% were offering financial education and 31% financial advice, plus several employers are considering, or have already set up, a hardship fund for employees affected by the crisis.

A quarter of employers have increased spending on their current employee assistance programme (EAP); one in eight (13%) have increased spend on their existing virtual GP service and a further 8% (one in 12 employers) have introduced virtual GPs for the first time.

Cheryl Brennan, Director of Corporate Consulting at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, says, “The fact that employers are increasing their focus on financial wellbeing support is extremely timely. Many employees will be facing money worries right now. Some will be worried about their income if furloughed, others on how this crisis will affect their savings and retirement funds. Our own pre-crisis research highlighted that financial wellbeing is often over-looked by employers in their wellbeing strategies, something we hope will change given the current situation.”

Howden’s pre-crisis research found that 40% of employers have no procedures in place to help workers who have money worries, despite as many as 96% of employers believing that at least some of their workers were experiencing persistent money worries.

Cheryl Brennan says, “A decade of austerity has left many employees struggling with debt and unable to balance their income and outgoings. The uncertainty created by the coronavirus crisis may exacerbate these issues and could lead to more financial difficulty for people.

“Money worries can negatively impact health and wellbeing. At a time when employees are concerned about their health, adding financial worries to the mix can overwhelm people mentally. More than ever employers need to support their workers with robust health and wellbeing provision. This includes a robust approach to financial wellbeing and we recommend employers look at what financial education and support they can implement now to ensure their workforce gets through this crisis.”

Howden’s range of financial wellbeing solutions can be delivered directly to employees in the workplace, or remotely via conferencing and technology solutions.

Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing also offer a Covid-19 Hub with the latest insight, technical guides and insurer updates.

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