A survey by recruitment site CareerBuilder.co.uk found that 37% of staff live for pay day and struggle to survive on their salary, and that 33% are unable to set aside any cash for savings.
For HR professionals, budgetary constraints may mean they cannot make the pay cheque any bigger, but planning ahead and maximising the benefits you offer to staff could ease the burden, according to Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of HR at CareerBuilder.co.uk.
Loans and counselling
"Companies need to be creative and promote a work environment that thinks about its employees holistically," she says. "Although companies are not responsible for each employee's financial habits, they can send a message that they care."
The Carphone Warehouse worked with the Employee Advisory Resource, one of the leading providers of employee assistance programmes, on a short- and long-term approach to alleviating staff issues with money. The company offers a hardship loan and counselling to uncover any underlying issues.
Christina Jauregui, head of compensation and benefits at Carphone Warehouse, says: "It is more important that we help staff understand how they get into debt in the first place, to protect them from getting into this situation again, and to provide the emotional support needed to make changes to their lives."
It is not simply a matter of low-paid employees getting into debt, however. "What was most surprising to us was that not many workers plan ahead," says Haefner.
"Companies could promote pension schemes a bit more to show that they consider it to be important. The cost of living is high, undeniably, so companies could also look at offering car allowances or transport reimbursements."
James Bradley, director of service delivery for the Employee Advisory Resource, agrees that creativity is the key.
"Companies could offe