Six ways to get - and keep - your employees out of debt

Financial woes can affect us all, and your employees are no exception. Wellbeing expert David Price offers some sage advice to help keep your staff financially content.

You may believe that an employee’s financial situation will have no impact on your company. However, this not true. Debt can place employees under significant levels of stress, something that can impact their overall performance and potentially lead to them taking long periods away from work.

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Below are six areas you could think about, to help your employees to tackle this all-too-common problem.  

1.       Provide access to an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)

EAPs are outsourced services designed to assist employees with personal or work-related problems that could impact their job performance or health. Employees can use an EAP for further advice and support on managing their finances. An EAP can also help them explore ways to better cope with the stress they may be under as a result of their situation.

2.       Train up your managers

All managers should be fully trained in the best methods available to respond to such issues fairly and non-judgementally. They should also know where to direct the employee for further support – which could be an EAP or any other assistance that the company may offer employees in situations like this. At no point should a manager agree to provide a personal loan to the employee.

3.       Help your employees to reduce their outgoings

Your company could offer options to employees to help them to reduce the outgoings of everyday life. This might include offering the employees perks, such as reduced lunch prices, arranging for discounts at local shops and restaurants, or with transport options, or reaching agreements with nearby nurseries for your employees to have lower childcare rates. 

4.       Pay the voluntary living wage

Set by the Living Wage Foundation, the voluntary living wage provides a higher salary to employees than those of the national minimum wage, with rates reviewed annually. Although you do not have to pay the living wage and it is up to you if you choose to opt into the scheme, this higher rate of pay can help employees to better meet their living costs.

5.       Review employee salaries

Provided you are paying your employees at least the national minimum wage, you don’t have to increase their salary. That said, it is a good idea to regularly evaluate how much you pay your staff, as this can help encourage their loyalty to your company, as well as keeping up with any increases to their overall cost of living.

6.       Pay wages in advance

Consider paying employees early during times when they might be spending more money, such as just before Christmas, to help them meet any large credit card bills. Your company may allow for employees to have an advance in their wages during specific situations. If this is the case, make sure you provide this fully in line with company policy and treat all your employees consistently.

About the author

David Price is CEO of Health Assured, a provider of health and wellbeing solutions. He advises employers on how to encourage and develop a healthy workplace, while outlining best-practice guidance on how to combat and control workplace stress.

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Image: Getty Images