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Financial Wellbeing Amidst The Cost of Living Crisis – Help and Support Available

By Heather McKinlay

Financial wellbeing is now more important than ever, considering the rising cost of living crisis that has hit the UK workforce, which is having a detrimental impact on many. Over recent months, many people have begun to struggle with the cost of living, including the increased prices of petrol, food, gas and electricity.

It has caused both worry and also financial instability, posing a serious risk to employees’ financial, physical and emotional wellbeing. All of this can have a major impact on performance at work, making it a potential problem for employers. But what can employers actually do to support their employees through this?

We have put together the following list of suggestions to that you may find useful for managing this within your organisation:

  • Pay the living wage

  • Signpost to a financial advisor or EAP if you have one

  • Train managers on how to empathise with employees

  • Have a second job policy

  • Offer a one-off bonus to help with the cost of living crisis

  • Pay the Accredited Real Living Wage

  • Become an Accredited Living Hours Employer

  • Invest in additional benefits including a Healthcare Cash Plan.

  • Work with your Local Credit Union

  • Empower your staff to support their own financial wellbeing

  • Support in-work progression

  • Use benefits packages to support staff

  • Use flexible working as an effective route out of in-work poverty

  • Develop a financial wellbeing strategy guide

  • Help employees get an insight into their finances

  • Offer coaching sessions to address key issues

  • Unlock extra cash and benefits for your team

Responding to the cost of living crisis can help show employees you care, reducing their financial stress and making them feel more supported at work. This can, in turn, increase productivity and help improve recruitment and retention. This makes a strong business case for taking this seriously as an employer. Although you can’t address every issue facing your employees, you can empower them to take action.

We have also compiled the following list together which shows some of the help and support available out there, which you can use to signpost to your employees:

General advice and resources:

  • MoneySavingExpert website has information about how to reduce your spending as costs rise – focusing on finding deals and saving cash.

  • The Government’s Money Helper website also provides free, confidential help and advice for people facing financial difficulties.

  • As the UK's largest advice provider, the Citizens Advice offers a range of money advice services as well as benefits, debt, housing and employment rights.

  • The Stop Loan Sharks team have a 24-hour helpline (0300 555 2222) and online chat to enable people to report Loan Sharks and receive confidential support.

  • Step Change contact the UK’s leading debt charity to get expert debt advice and fee-free debt management to help you tackle your debts, including an online debt tool.

  • The Money and Pensions Service is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, and engages with HM Treasury on matters relating to financial capability and debt advice.

Fuel and energy support:

  • The government has a ‘Simple Energy Advice’ website, including an Energy Efficiency Calculator which provides personalised advice on reducing energy bills.

  • The Turn2Us website contains information about the schemes available to help with fuel bills.

  • Groundwork provides free Green Doctor visits to help with reducing heating costs.

  • Energy suppliers have Priority Services Registers which provide support for vulnerable people, including those with a mental health condition or young children.

  • National Energy Action (NEA) provide one-to-one advice, support, and grants to the most vulnerable and low-income households.

Housing support:

  • If you are a Council or Housing Association tenant and are struggling to pay your rent, you should contact your landlord in the first instance.

  • If you are of pension age, then you may be able to claim Housing Benefit – contact your local council to find out more.

  • Discretionary Housing Payments can provide financial support for rent or housing costs to those who receive Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

  • The Homelessness Prevention Fund can be used as short-term help for someone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness – contact your local council.

  • If you are worried about paying your rent or mortgage, you can find information and advice on Shelter’s website and via their freephone line (0808 800 4444).

Grants and funding:

  • Council Tax Support is available for those on low incomes and the Council Tax Hardship Scheme provides further support to those who receive council tax support but are still unable to meet their council tax costs – contact your local council.

  • Families who are eligible for Free School Meals will continue to receive vouchers over some school holidays this year. Further information about this scheme is available online.

  • Many households will receive a £150 energy tax rebate from the government this year. For more information, you can check online.

If you have employees who are struggling with their wellbeing due to the rising cost of living, then please do get in touch to see how we can help support you and your organisation.

About Heather McKinlay

Heather works as an HR Business Associate at Second Chapter where she supports mainly with recruitment, general HR administration and also social media postings. She has had a varied career so far spanning across retail, hospitality, marketing and communications, but always with people at the heart of it. Heather lives in Sheffield with her husband, daughter and rescue cat George.

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