Around half (51%) of employer respondents think that staff financial wellbeing is not their responsibility, according to research by pension and investment organisation Aegon.
The survey, which canvassed the views of 505 UK HR decision-makers, also found that 45% feel they would be intruding on the personal lives of their employees if they offered to provide financial advice.
Kate Smith (pictured), head of pensions at Aegon, said: “Our research is clear that poor financial wellbeing not only impacts individuals, but is affecting [the] business 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 [employees] struggle to deal with financial worries. It’s time that employers acknowledged the role that they play in supporting staff with their finances.”
Half (50%) of respondents stated that they would be able to provide information to staff on debt issues, but 27% do not feel that they would be in a position to offer information on saving for retirement. Almost two-fifths (38%) are also not confident that they could answer employee questions on general savings.
Smith added: “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 pension scheme in a clear and easy way to understand.”