General Insurance Article - Employers struggle on supporting workers financial wellbeing

Research carried out by pension and investment company Aegon reveals that employers struggle to understand if and how they should be supporting staff with their financial situation. This is despite figures showing that 4.2 million days of work are lost each year due to poor financial wellbeing, at a cost to employers of £626 million each year.

 Businesses aren’t confident in their ability to provide information to employees to alleviate financial worries. With many people feeling the financial strain after Christmas, just half (50%) of employers said they would be able to provide information to staff on debt issues. When it comes to supporting employees with planning for retirement, over a quarter (27%) of businesses said they wouldn’t be able to provide information on pensions and saving for retirement, with 38% unconfident they could answer staff questions on general savings.
 Figures suggest that businesses are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the financial wellbeing of its staff, as half (51%) of employers surveyed said that they think the financial wellness of its business' employees is not personally their business. 45% of employers expressed concerns that if their business reached out to staff to provide them with financial advice, they would feel like they were intruding on their lives.
 Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, comments: “Our research is clear that poor financial wellbeing not only impacts individuals but is affecting businesses bottom line as well. Many people are living life on a financial cliff edge with debt and loans, coupled with the burden of financial obligations and commitments, impacting their ability to control their finances and respond to financial unpredictability.
 “Our figures show the tangible impact of poor financial wellbeing on UK businesses with a staggering number of days taken off each year as workers struggle to deal with financial worries. It’s time that employers acknowledged the role that they play in supporting staff with their finances and there are some relatively simple steps they can take to increase financial wellbeing among their workforce.
 “As a first step, understanding the difference between the financial information they can easily offer and formal financial advice will enable employers to offer financial education, which can go a long way in supporting staff who may be struggling. More often than not, businesses will already offer a range of workplace benefits and simply communicating details of these can be a positive step in the right direction. This should include providing details of the company pension scheme in a clear and easy to understand way.”

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