Employee advice helpline calls increase as economy weakens

The credit crunch is taking its toll on staff wellbeing as well as on their pockets, according to figures from the Employee Advisory Resource (EAR).

An analysis of telephone calls made to its employee assistance helpline in July 2008 showed marked increases in the number of people seeking advice and support on financial, tenancy and legal issues.

Calls requesting assistance with financial concerns, such as debt and mortgage queries, increased by 27% compared with the previous month, and by 7% compared with the same period last year.

Also, the number of calls seeking advice or support on contract termination rose by 55% compared with last year. And the number of staff calling with emotional health problems, such as job anxiety, stress and family issues, rose by 27%.

Tenancy-related calls increased by 48% compared with the previous month. Calls concerning legal issues have also climbed by 24% since June 2008, and by 21% on the same period last year.

And civil litigation enquiries have risen by 66% compared with the previous year.

“The role of employers to support their people in these testing economic times is greater than ever,” said Alan King, managing director at EAR.

“Steps need to be taken to ensure employers have appropriate resources and solutions in place to enable their staff to tackle personal and work-related concerns before they affect work performance in any significant way.”

EAR is one of the UK’s leading providers of employee assistance programmes and integrated services. It helps clients’ employees with all kinds of challenges, including debt management, financial planning, dealing with addiction, stress management and absence management.

It introduced the UK’s first ever employee assistance programme in 1981, and currently has more than 350 clients, covering more than 330,000 employees across multiple industries.

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