PayCaptain, the payroll solution developed to pay employees and help improve their financial wellbeing, has launched new debt guidance and support functionality from MoneyHelper and Pension Wise through the PayCaptain mobile app.
What are the effects of the cost of living crisis?
With the cost-of-living crisis taking full effect with rising fuel, heating and food costs, many of the 32.5 million people employed in the United Kingdom are facing unprecedented financial hardship.
The estimated total number of households predicted to be in fuel poverty due to the latest price cap rise from 1 April 2022 is 6.3 million. This is predicted to rise to 8.5 million households by year end. Of households that have children, there are 2.5 million that are expected to be in fuel poverty after 1st April 2022.
In the financial year April 2020 – March 2021, over 2.5 million emergency food parcels were given to families in financial crisis through a national network of food banks. Statistics for April 2021 – March 2022 are not yet available, however a steep rise is expected in the number of parcels provided to support families, and this is anticipated to rise further in 2022-2023, to over 4 million parcels.
In the year to February 2022, Citizens Advice, the UK national charity that offers free confidential advice on matters from debt to benefits, housing and immigration, dealt with 1,988 debt issues daily in England and Wales. This is expected to almost double with the price cap increase and other cost of living expenses soaring.
What is the price cap increase?
The price cap for energy was set by energy regulator, Ofgem, which meant that energy suppliers could not exceed the pricing on default standard variable tariffs and pre-payment tariffs in England, Wales and Scotland. From 1st April 2022, the price cap has been increased, which will affect households on standard variable and pre-payment tariffs by as much as £700 per year. The average household paying their energy via direct debit could see an increase from £1,277 per year to £1,971 per year.
So, what does this mean for employees? Households that were already stretched financially will be placed under further pressure and people will start prioritising some payments over others, which will cause debt to spiral. The UK is also seeing the ‘eat versus heat’ phenomenon where families are living in extreme fuel poverty, unable to heat their homes, prioritising the need to eat. It’s times like these that debt advice and management support becomes even more important for those who are financially vulnerable.
How does PayCaptain help?
PayCaptain is an outsourced cloud-based payroll solution that makes payroll simple for employers. The software has specific functionality built in to help support more vulnerable and low-income employees.
By partnering with MoneyHelper and Pension Wise, users of the PayCaptain mobile app are able to access free confidential money advice and support.
MoneyHelper joins up money and pensions guidance to make it quicker and easier to find the right help. MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
MoneyHelper provides information throughthe PayCaptain app on how to access certain benefits as well as useful guides and online chat with experts who can provide confidential advice. Support from MoneyHelper for individuals includes:
- Information on Universal Credit and how to access payments
- Benefits including child benefits, housing support, benefits for those on low income when employed or self-employed.
- Debt management and how to deal with money in uncertain times
- Debt repayment calculator and budget planners
- Where to go for free debt advice, and how to speak to creditors
- Tips to help users pay back debts in the right order
Sarah Rayment, Operations Manager at PayCaptain says, “This is a brilliant resource, accessible through the PayCaptain app, for any employees who are worried about, or struggling with, their finances. In these difficult times, we want to give employees as many tools as possible to help them manage their money and promote their financial well-being.
By letting employees know about these new features, combined with tools already available in the app, employers are giving their employees more opportunities to seek help and avoid spiralling further into debt.”
Headings are set out clearly in the app and users can also click on a link to find a free debt advisor that they can talk to on the phone or have a real-time chat online.
Pension advice is also available through the app, from Pension Wise. Users can book a telephone call with a pension advisor through the app, so they can learn about and get guidance on what options are available. This helps the employee plan for their financial future.
What other features are available in the app?
Other features in the app that are designed specifically to help employees manage their money include:
- Payment splitting – this functionality allows employees to make payments direct from their net pay to landlords, loans, credit cards, mortgages etc – eliminating the risk of missing an important payment.
- Emergency wage advances – this functionality enables employees to access emergency cash and automatic weekly advances. Weekly funds can be helpful for employees to manage part of their budget on a weekly basis and keep funds protected for their bills and direct debits at the end of the month.
- Money planning tool – where employees can create a personal budget as well as access helpful financial guidance.
- Financial well-being scoring – this is a survey for employees that creates a financial score and provides guidance to help financial well-being.
- Personalised financial guidance – trusted financial guidance can be accessed directly through the PayCaptain app. The PayCaptain Team is also available to support employees directly with best practice information and recommendations for money management.
- Savings – the PayCaptain app makes it easy to save money every month, so employees can build reserve funds to access in times of need. Employees can pre-plan the amount to save and is automatically transferred from net pay. When an employee doesn’t have an existing savings account, one can be opened directly through the PayCaptain app.
In summary, PayCaptain has partnered with MoneyHelper and Pension Wise to give more employees easier access to confidential money advice and support. Users of the PayCaptain app can access impartial financial advice directly through the app, seek support for debt management and help plan for their future with a range of savings and pension options.
PayCaptain Payroll Solutions Limited, www.paycaptain.com is an HR/FinTech company that delivers a fully automated cloud payroll service.The solution contains many unique and innovative features for employees, helping them to take control of their pay and increase their financial well-being. PayCaptain is a payroll solution that helps employers pay their workforce, regardless of income and personal circumstances. The solution also incorporates functionality that is specifically designed to positively impact financial resilience for people struggling with money, or vulnerable and low-income employees.
PayCaptainis the first payroll company to be B-Corporation certified in the world. To read more about B-Corporations, visit www.bcorporation.net