Our latest Employee Benefits Watch research uncovered that UK employers are struggling to keep up with employee demand for financial wellness support. This is particularly poignant in light of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issuing a warning over increasing household debt in the UK only last week

[1], and against a backdrop of stagnant wage growth and escalating inflation.

What do employees want?

Employees are looking to their employers for support in achieving their financial goals. Our research found that over 40% of employees would appreciate greater employer support towards saving for a holiday and buying a house, yet just 12% and 4% respectively feel that they are supported by their organizations to reach these goals. It’s then not surprising to see that only 10% of UK employers currently have a financial wellness strategy in place. While almost all employers offer pensions plans and life assurance, very few offer the kind of support that can improve employees’ current financial situations. These traditional, long-term benefits can have little meaning for employees, who are encountering financial challenges day-to-day. Employers need to revaluate how they’re approaching financial wellness and consider whether what they’re offering is really appropriate.

Why is there a disconnect?

For employers, there are a number of factors that hold them back from providing more support. These include a lack of understanding, as our research found that 64% of employers are unsure about how much financial support, beyond mandatory salary and pensions, they should provide. 42% of employers expressed concern over the risk of getting too involved in employees’ affairs, and 25% were worried about the cost of scheme implementation.  But, employers’ reticence to implement a financial wellness strategy is a real missed opportunity to engage with their people, as employees of all ages are crying out for more financial support. There’s a myth to dispel that these initiatives are too costly or would mean employers get too involved in employees’ personal finances – it’s may simply be a case of employers enabling easy access to self-service tools through technology.

Read more at: https://www.thomsons.com/resources/blog-posts/do-employers-have-a-duty-to-support-their-employees-financial-wellness/