Majority of employers don’t offer financial support to staff

More than two-thirds (67%) of organisations do not offer any form of financial support to their staff, according to a report, despite employees facing mounting financial pressure.

Only 10% of organisations have a financial wellbeing strategy in place, employee benefits platform Thomsons Online Benefits has found, even though Office of National Statistics data suggests that UK households are more likely to borrow money rather than save.

According to Thomsons’ Employee Benefits Watch 2018/19 report,  a survey of 450 employers found that eight in 10 organisations did not offer a workplace ISA, 81% did not offer debt consolidation, 79% did not provide mortgage broking and 70% did not offer debt counselling to their employees.

Almost a quarter (22%) of employers suggested that they did not want to get too involved in their employees’ financial lives. One in five (20%) believed that it was not their role to do so and 24% were concerned about the costs associated with helping staff with their financial concerns.

Employers focused more on their employees’ physical wellbeing, with 40% more employers offering private or virtual GP services than last year.

David Dodd, Thomsons Online Benefits’ consulting director, suggested that employers were failing to deliver a holistic wellbeing strategy by ignoring financial support.

“At a time when employees are struggling financially, and the top talent is in higher demand than ever, it’s paramount employers work to help employees with their financial health, or risk losing them to competitors,” he explained.

Among the employers that did not have a financial wellbeing strategy, 50% planned to implement one.

Organisations that used an online benefits package were more likely to offer financial wellbeing services than those that did not (15% compared to 9%). A quarter (26%) of online benefits tool users were in the process of setting up a financial wellness scheme, compared to 15% of organisations without an online benefits platform.

Energy provider OVO Energy said it had to go beyond traditional financial wellness options in order to meet the needs of its younger employees. Around 80% of its workforce is aged under 35.

“Working with Thomsons, we developed a scheme incorporating a flex fund, workplace ISA and free mortgage broking; offerings to meet the demands of a twenty-first century workforce and to help employees make better financial choices every day,” said Joanna Fairweather, reward manager at OVO Energy.

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