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Concerns rise as scale of cost-of-living crisis hits home

Bertrand Stern-Gillet, CEO - Health Assured

Health Assured, the UK and Ireland’s largest independent employee assistance programme (EAP) provider, has reported a worrying increase in the number of employees seeking help for financial concerns.

The company, which provides support to over 15 million lives, saw the number of calls to their helpline for financial worries increase by 82% in June 2022 when compared with the number received in June 2021.

The 10 most asked questions are:

  • What should I be considering or reviewing now that the cost-of-living crisis is affecting me?
  • How can I get help to manage my finances?
  • I feel overwhelmed trying to understand my finances, is there an easier way?
  • I’m already struggling with debt and something else has just come up, what can I do?
  • I just can’t afford to get to work anymore, what are my options?
  • Is there any help from the Government?
  • What can I do to try to survive this crisis?
  • Are employers obligated to do anything to help with cost of living?
  • Where can I get more help?
  • As an employer how can I support my employees more?

Bertrand Stern-Gillet is CEO at Health Assured. He says: “Help with financial concerns is one of the subjects our counsellors commonly deal with, but never have we seen such a stark increase year on year for any issue. It’s something that should ring alarm bells with every employer as well as the Government.

“With soaring energy costs, increases to the weekly food shop, and the constantly rising cost of fuel and public transport, people are struggling. The worry about how they are going to pay their bills is real and the impact this is having on peoples’ mental health cannot be overstated.

“Business owners are also struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, which means many are unable to offer their employees a pay rise to help them cope.

“With further increases to energy bills expected to come in October, this situation will only get worse. Doing nothing is not an option. There are other ways that employers can help support employees financially when giving a pay rise is simply not possible.

“For example, financial literacy and education should be on the mind of every employer and can form a foundational part of an organisation’s package and reward scheme.

“Healthy workplaces are ones that help their employees develop and grow. Financial worries can have a huge impact on productivity, morale, and retention.

“Signpost employees to organisations that can offer support, whether that’s a debt management service, a government grant or an EAP programme providing financial advice and assistance.

“Consider introducing schemes like a holiday saving club that allows employees to put away money straight from their pay cheque.

“Salary Sacrifice Loans are also an option to include as part of your benefits package. These allow people to consolidate debts and make payments directly from their salary in return for better rates than they would receive elsewhere.”

cost-of-living crisis

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