As the effects of COVID-19 impact on all aspects of home and work life, financial wellbeing is likely to become a concern for many staff. It's important that employers support their staff to maintain overall mental wellbeing, including good financial wellbeing, during this extraordinary time.
Financial wellbeing should be seen as part of a person's overall health and wellbeing, and can be defined as:
- being able to respond to unforeseen expenses
- understanding how to financially plan for the future
- managing debt and a budget properly
- contributing to a pension scheme
- having the knowledge to make good financial decisions and understanding of where and how to seek advice and support
- being free from financial worry and distress .
Poor financial wellbeing is likely to have a wide-ranging negative impact on staff at work.
- Affected staff are likely to be between 25-34 days less productive a year, on average, compared to those without financial worries (source: Salary Finance).
- 10 per cent of affected employees report a reduction in their ability to concentrate or make decisions (source: CIPD).
Staff’s financial wellbeing will be impacted differently by the pandemic, and an employer’s response and support for staff should take this into account. For example, staff themselves or their relatives/spouses may:
- experience a reduced or loss of salary
- incur increased costs at home due to children not attending school or increased caring responsibilities
- be concerned or anxious about the long-term impact of the pandemic on their financial stability.
Ways employers can support staff with their financial wellbeing
There are a number of steps employers can take to support staff with their financial wellbeing during the pandemic. They can:
- encourage line managers and staff to have open conversations about financial wellbeing, and signpost to the national discounts and tax and expenses arrangements provided to NHS staff
- ensure staff are aware of their own financial reward package, including the NHS pension scheme and provisions such as death in service
- support staff to understand more about their financial wellbeing via signposting to any organisational financial wellbeing strategy or external advice and support
- actively communicate the current financial wellbeing package the organisation can offer staff and make sure it's easy for staff to access
- promote national support mechanisms that can support staff with their financial wellbeing such as
- the Financial Conduct Authority offers guidance on the national provisions around mortgage holidays during the pandemic
- national organisations such as the Money Advice Service offer general advice on this subject.
Employers and line managers should keep updated on national decisions regarding financial support and ensure they can signpost staff appropriately.
It may be possible to make local arrangements which support staff in non-financial ways, such as partnerships between the NHS and foodbanks to support staff access to basic necessities if they are facing financial hardship.
For further support, access our guidance on implementing a financial wellbeing strategy, and NHS England and NHS Improvement's COVID-19 financial wellbeing guidance.