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17th October 2022

How To Help Employees During The Cost of Living Crisis

The UK’s Cost of Living Crisis is hard to ignore, and as interest rates and energy prices continue to soar, people are concerned about how they’re going to make ends meet.

The UK’s inflation rate hit a record breaking 9.1% (the highest it has been in 40 years), and it’s predicted that food bills will rise by £380 this year.

According to CIPD, one in four employees admitted money worries impact their ability to do their job, and the British Medical Journal found that 55% of people stated that rising costs have negatively impacted their mental health.

So, this begs the question, what can employers do to alleviate financial pressures and help their employees navigate through this difficult time?

From implementing or reviewing your financial wellbeing policy, to ensuring your team feels valued, and making sure they’re paid correctly, here are a few ways you can help your team during this difficult time.

Implement or review your financial wellbeing policy

If an employee’s income after housing costs is less than 60% of the national average, it is classed as ‘in-work poverty’. It is predicted that in-work poverty is going to rise in 2022, which has now been branded a ‘frightening year of financial fear’ (CIPD).

All of this creates an excellent case for businesses to start implementing a financial wellbeing policy.

According to CIPD, there’s strong evidence that links financial wellbeing with improved employee wellbeing and performance. A financial wellbeing policy should encompass three steps:

●       Normalise conversation surrounding money worries in the workplace and show empathy. This will remove any stigma and make your team feel heard.

●       Tell your employees about the free, independent and confidential debt and money advice available from the government’s Money and Pensions Service.

●       Shout loud and proud about any benefits you offer to your workforce, and tell them how to make the most of them.

Pay your employees a fair wage (on time)

Minimum Wage currently sits at £9.18 per hour. In April 2022, the National Living Wage increased to £9.50 per hour. The rates depending on age are as follows

However, the Real Living Wage (which is independently calculated and set by the Living Wage Foundation) is at £10.90 for the UK and £11.95 for London.

With such a big difference in Minimum, National Living and real living, if you can afford to pay your team the real living wage, you should. As well as offering employees more financial security, your brand reputation and workplace culture is improved, along with employee retention.

You should also ensure your workforce are paid the correct amount and on time. Failure to pay on time or consistent mistakes with payroll can lead to problems with productivity and overall business success. All of which can impact staff retention and result in business closure.

Choosing to outsource your payroll can help reduce payroll mistakes and improve overall business productivity.

Review your benefits package

Benefits packages are a great way to improve employee retention, and positively contributes to overall wellbeing and workplace culture.
Your benefits scheme could cover:

●       Gym memberships

●       Insurance including Health, Dental and Life cover

●       Eye care discounts and vouchers

●       Provide more paid days of annual leave than the legal holiday entitlement

●       Contribute more than the legal requirement of 5% for pensions

●       Cashback and gift cards for supermarkets and retailers and more

You could also provide better sick cover, above the legally required Statutory Sick Pay. The same goes for Paternity and Maternity cover.

Promote a flexible working policy

Flexible working is a great way to allow employees to improve their work life balance, and reduce costs spent on commuting, pet sitting and childcare.

From hybrid working with a few days in the office and a couple of days at home, to flexitime, job sharing and compressed hours, there are many ways to promote flexible working.

Thanks to Time and Attendance software such as TimeEscape powered by UKG, keeping on track of hours worked and streamlining employee time and attendance is easy.

Finding the right balance

Employers are faced with a really difficult situation that will only get trickier in the colder months. Business costs and overheads continue to rise, which can make it increasingly difficult to support employees who may be struggling. However, ensuring your employees are paid on time and fairly, and creating a culture that drives the importance of financial wellbeing is critical.

Find out how Payescape can help. Request a demo today.

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