Employers are becoming much more proactive in helping their workers achieve financial well-being, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute Issue Brief, 2019 Employer Approaches to Financial Wellbeing Solutions.

While helping workers save for retirement continues to be the most important (40 percent) topic within financial wellness initiatives, additional financial topics are also becoming more popular, EBRI’s survey found. The research organization polled employers with 500 or more workers, screened to include respondents who express at least some interest in offering financial wellness initiatives.

Employers are also increasingly helping workers with the basics, not only providing financial education on budgeting and the importance of maintaining an emergency fund, but also offering helplines, coaching, well-being assessments and challenge programs, as well as “financial wellness communities” where workers can share success stories.

Some employers are even more proactive, offering specific solutions such as employer assistance with emergency funds or liquidity needs, according to the survey. More employers are offering payroll advances in 2019 than in 2018 (17 percent and 12 percent, respectively). Those offering emergency funds or employee hardship assistance in 2019 are in line with 2018 at 28 percent.

The most common type of emergency assistance offered is an employee relief or compassion fund (44 percent), followed by part-time donations or leave-sharing (36 percent) and matching contributions to employees’ personal accounts (35 percent). Among those that already offer an emergency fund, the average number of such benefits offered was 2.5.

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