Michael Royce: How can employers help staff improve financial capability?

Employers play an increasingly important role in supporting the financial wellbeing of their people, both through the success of pensions auto-enrolment and by providing schemes such as season ticket loans and childcare vouchers.

Figures from Neyber’s The DNA of financial wellbeing report, published in May 2016, estimate that money worries cost the UK economy £120 billion and 17.5 million lost hours of work. The Money and Pensions Service’s own research, published in May 2018, has shown that nearly two-thirds of UK adults say that stress over money has affected the mental health of someone they know.

The incentive for employers to help support their teams is clear.

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While talking about money worries is often seen as taboo, opening up to someone is the first step to resolving these issues and dissolving this source of stress.

The fact that employers already communicate with staff about pensions and other financial schemes means they are well placed to initiate further conversations about money. Employees can then be directed towards free debt advice, as well as help with money and pensions from services such as the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service.

Initiatives such as auto-enrolment are a testament to the fact that when employers take an active role in building the financial resilience of their employees, it can have impressive results.

The Monday and Pensions Service hopes to add to this success with a new savings product, Jars, that we are trialling across the Timpson workforce with National Employment Saving Trust (Nest) Insight.

The initiative, also co-funded by JP Morgan and BlackRock, is designed to help employees that opt in build up a short-term savings buffer; savings accumulate through payroll deductions alongside the workplace pension.

We encourage employers to work with us to help create a nation of financially engaged and resilient workers.

Michael Royce is savings expert at the Money and Pensions Service