Monday, March 14, 2022
Sam Slade, Business Contributor
Debt-related financial wellness benefits are relatively uncommon among employers. But if you don’t offer them, you may want to take a closer look.
Today’s Employees and Debt
A recent study revealed that 63% of workers who work full time at companies with 500 or more employees have unsecured debt in the form of credit card or medical or personal loan balances. During the pandemic, 42% of adults with credit card debt increased their balances and 37% of employees say they have more debt than they can manage.
The Impact of Debt on the Workplace
The impact of employees’ personal debt can extend to the workplace, affecting their performance and productivity. Among those surveyed, 40% missed at least one day of work in the past 12 months due to debt-related stress. And 50% of those with debt spent an average of one hour a week at work dealing with debt issues.
Where Financial Benefits are Lacking
Many employers who offer financial wellness benefits focus on improving workers’ future situations, such as with financial planning or retirement readiness. But few address their present-day needs. Salary advances, medical bill audits and negotiation, emergency loans, and debt consolidation are examples of debt-related products available, yet none of these were offered to a majority of respondents asked.
Sixty-five percent of employees feel stressed about their financial position. And since employee debt is the biggest contributor to their worries, it may be worth considering debt management benefits alongside more traditional offerings. Not only can these perks help alleviate employee concerns, but they can improve your business’ performance, culture, and recruitment and retention in the process.
Sam Slade is Managing Director, Employee Benefits, at The Hilb Group of New England, where he delivers consulting and brokerage services to local employers. He has extensive experience in all aspects of employee benefits, including underwriting, plan design, communications, compliance, and analytics, with a particular focus on alternative funding and self-insurance. Sam lives in South Kingstown with his wife and three sons.
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