COVID-19: helping employees facing financial difficulty

This toolkit, COVID-19: helping employees facing financial difficulty contains four steps that employers can take to provide the right benefits at the right time.

  • Start with the fundamentals
    Providing income security and predictability at this time is more important than ever.
  • Help those in crisis
    A third of UK workers have fewer than £500 in savings, meaning many workers are close to crisis point. Employers can put things in place to help, such as signposting to debt support, providing advice through employee assistance programmes, clearly communicating the support available from the government
  • Bring down living costs
    Fringe benefits should focus on helping workers manage day-to-day costs.
  • Offer long-term solutions
    Help employees avoid reaching crisis point by providing financial education and partnering to provide salary-linked saving schemes.

Financial concerns are more widespread in current crisis

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, it was estimated that 36% of UK workers were experiencing financial concerns on an ongoing basis1 and one in eight UK workers were living in poverty2. In the current crisis, financial concerns are substantially more widespread and likely to be more acute for those already struggling to make ends meet.

Create an open culture

  • Promote a culture where it is OK to talk about money, starting at the top. Have business leaders record a video or message to share with employees and designate go-to colleagues for people to speak to.
  • Encourage all line managers to reach out to employees and establish positive lines of communication, particularly with employees now working from home or keyworkers who may be experiencing increased stress and anxiety.

Communication is key

Ensuring communication is transparent and appropriate is key to removing possible barriers that may be experienced by employees. This toolkit, COVID-19: helping employees facing financial difficulty includes pragmatic suggestions on how to best share the initiatives across both your organisation and your supply chain.

REFERENCES

¹ The Employer’s Guide to Financial Wellbeing 2019-20 (2019); Salary Finance
2 UK Poverty 2019/2020 (2019); Joseph Rowntree Foundation available at jrf.org.uk