Soaring inflationary pressures and mounting recession fears have combined with pandemic and employment concerns to create a heightened level of financial stress among employees. For employers, this represents both a dilemma and an opportunity. The employee benefit portfolio that may have worked well in the past may not adequately address these needs going forward. By investing in planning and some resources, however, business owners can both demonstrate their concern for employees and solidify if not increase worker morale and productivity at the same time. Here are a few programs employers can implement to show their support:
Emergency Savings Accounts
By creating an emergency savings account (ESA) for employees, business owners can help workers save for financial emergencies by allowing deposits of after-tax dollars from their paycheck into a savings account. Workers can then withdraw the funds as needed via a debit card or electronic transfer. An ESA eliminates the need for workers to have the discipline and time to manually save the money. As a bonus, employers can offer incentives to employees, such as a matching deposit (up to specified limits).
Lifestyle Spending Accounts
Lifestyle Spending Accounts (LSA) provide a method for employers to assist their employees in paying for health, wellness expenses and even other costs that are not typically covered under a group health insurance program. Many business owners like LSAs since they can decide which expenses are reimbursable and how much each employee receives. Unlike flexible spending accounts, employers fund the LSA with money that is taxable to the employee after it is spent.
Student Loan Assistance
Companies can design programs to either make tuition payments to the loan servicer or directly to the employee. Eligible candidates can be required to have been working for the company for a specified minimum period of time or have successfully completed a degree. Typically, an employer matches annual payments made by the student and can set a lifetime cap. As an example, a company can match annual payments up to $2500 per year and/or a lifetime cap of $10,000.
Financial Guidance Resources
These programs, sponsored by an employer, can provide access to resources and tools focusing on assisting employees in their effort to gain financial literacy. The business owner may utilize a wide range of options, including a partnership with financial consultants that can provide workplace seminars, speaking with employees concerning their financial needs and educating the staff on budgeting, saving, investing and managing debt.
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