With the ongoing cost of living crisis, a 3% fall in the value of wages and the energy price cap not reducing until 1stApril 2023, finances for many employees are still stretched to the limit.
One of the impacts of financial difficulty is increased stress, which in turn can lead to reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, impacting relationships both at home and in the workplace and it can also have a negative effect on employees’ physical and mental health. It’s critical, therefore, that employers identify and address the problem at the earliest opportunity.
For businesses that pay their employees using PayCaptain, help is at hand. A financial wellbeing survey is available in the PayCaptain app, where employees can answer a series of questions and access tailored support based on the results.
The formula for the questions has been developed with The Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation (‘PFEEF’). Over a million people have take in the test in more than 80 countries worldwide. It’s widely considered to be the ‘gold standard’ of financial wellbeing measurement.
The wellbeing survey focuses on the employee’s feelings about their financial situation, rather than their actual financial situation. The reason for this is that each individual deals with stress differently and there are different effects based on the emotional feelings that they experience.
The results of the employee financial survey are both anonymous and confidential. The survey overview makes it clear that neither the employer nor PayCaptain can access the respondent’s answers.
The survey takes the respondent through eight questions that focus on their feelings about their situation. Each question uses a sliding scale of 0-10 for the answer, with 0 being the most negative of feelings and 10 being the most positive.
Once the employee has run through the eight questions, they’re taken to a summary page where their overall financial wellness score is displayed.
It’s advised that employers should make it clear that this financial wellness score is in no way related to credit scoring for the purpose of taking out financial products such as loans, credit cards or mortgages. This is a confidential tool to offer support, resources, tools and advice for those suffering financial stress.
The financial wellness score is displayed on a scale of 0-10, with 0 indicating minimal financial wellness and 10 indicating optimal wellbeing.
For employees with low scores on the scale, a selection of tools for improving their financial wellness is displayed. A selection of articles is also displayed for the employee to access.
In addition to the tools and articles available in the survey summary, the following tools for are available in the PayCaptain app which can be used by the employee to improve their financial wellbeing and build some resilience for the future. These include:
PayCaptain has a handy benefits entitlement checker which is free to use for employees on the mobile app. The entitlement checker allows the user to anonymously enter the relevant personal information. Only the user’s postcode is needed - for cross-referencing against local authority benefits that may be available.
The benefits entitlement checker takes the user through a series of questions. Upon completion, the user is shown the benefits that they may be entitled to, based on the answers they’ve given. Links to applications forms for potential benefits are also provided to the user.
It should be noted that this benefits entitlement checker is available to everyone in the UK, not just those being paid via PayCaptain.
This functionality gives the employee the capability to set up automatic payday payments in the app, directly from their net pay. This eliminates the risk of paying essential bills late or missing them entirely.
Employees can set up automatic payday payments to their mortgage or landlord, as well as credit cards or loan repayments. Payments for household or personal bills can be set up as well as payments made to friends or family members.
Money planning tool:
This functionality allows employees to calculate their income and expenditure and enables them to create a personalised budget. This gives the employee a much better view of outgoings and the disposable income they have once their financial commitments are met.
Having the knowledge of incoming, outgoings and disposable income will allow the employee to plan their spending better and, in conjunction with other tools in the PayCaptain app, may enable them to build some savings for improved financial resilience.
Employees can pre-plan the amount to save and it is automatically transferred from net pay. This builds some resilience for times of financial hardship. As the interest rate continues to rise, in an attempt by the Bank of England to slow down spending – the value of savings is increasing.
Personalised financial guidance:
Trusted, impartial and confidential financial guidance from Money Helper can be accessed directly through the PayCaptain app. Money Helper is an organisation that offers help and support, confidential advice and guidance for those struggling with their finances. They have a range of tools and calculators on their website and can signpost users towards help with the cost of living, debt advice and debt management.
On demand pay:
On demand pay is where an employee can access up to 50% of their accrued earnings ahead of pay day. This can help ease the burden of a financial shortfall and help employees to meet their short-term financial obligations.
With PayCaptain, monthly paid employees can ease their immediate financial pressures by using the automatic Weekly Advances feature. Employees can access up to £50 of their accrued earnings each week, paid directly into their bank account every Monday morning.
These advances can be helpful for employees to manage part of their budget on a weekly basis, whilst keeping keep funds protected for their bills and direct debits at the end of the month.
As well as the Weekly Advances feature, PayCaptain also gives employees the option to access up to £200 of emergency cash, as long as the salary has been accrued. This allows employees to deal with emergencies when they have no savings to cover them.
These are graphical payslips that break down payments and deductions for employees.
Employees can click on Help icons for more information on how their deductions have been calculated so they know exactly how their pay has been worked out. Help icons explain tax, NICs, student loan and pension calculations directly on the payslip.
Knowledge is power and by having more knowledge of their pay and deductions, employees have the opportunity to take better control of their finances. PayCaptain has adopted the Plain Numbers approach, which means that employers are able to better communicate with their employees, giving them a better chance of making more informed decisions about their finances by simplifying language.
Pensions allow employees to make better provision for later life. Auto-enrolment functionality into workplace pensions is included in the PayCaptain solution with both employers and employees making contributions. Employees also have the option to increase their contributions or make ad hoc payments direct from their payroll to increase their savings for the future.
Employees can also view their pension pot directly from the PayCaptain app, so they keep up to date with how much money they're saving.
In summary, the Financial Wellbeing Survey is a valuable tool that employees can access to review their current wellness score. There are tools and useful articles in the survey results that can help to improve financial wellness. Combined with a host of additional functionality in the PayCaptain app to improve the financial wellbeing of employees, there's lots of help and support available to help reduce financial anxiety and stress for employees paid by PayCaptain.
Employees can revisit and resubmit answers in the Financial Wellbeing survey as often as they like and if they take advantage of the tools and resources available, they should see an increase in their overall wellness and experience more positive feelings about their finances.
PayCaptain Payroll Solutions Limited, www.paycaptain.com is a multi-award-winning HR/FinTech company that delivers a fully automated cloud outsourced payroll service. The solution contains many unique and innovative features for employees, helping them to take control of their pay and increase their financial wellbeing.
PayCaptain is a payroll solution that helps employers pay their workforce, regardless ofincome and personal circumstances. The solution incorporates functionality that's specifically designed to positively impact financial resilience for people struggling with money, or vulnerable and low-income employees.
PayCaptain is the world’s first payroll company to be B-Corporation certified. To read more about B-Corporations, visit www.bcorporation.net
PayCaptain has been recognised and rewarded with two B Corp ‘Best for the World’ awards for being within the top 5% of highest scorers within both the Workers and Governance impact areas in the B Corporation B Impact Assessment.
In October2022, PayCaptain was awarded the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ’Software Product of the Year 2022' at the CIPP Annual Excellence Awards.