With the ongoing cost of living crisis and the recession expected to extend throughout 2023 and into 2024, we all know that finances are stretched to the maximum.
The UK inflation rate is currently 10.672%, which means the cost of goods and services are currently nearly 11% higher than they were at the beginning of 2022. The cost-of-living crisis has a firm hold in the UK. The Bank of England forecasts that the UK will be in recession for at least two years.
With households having their finances stretched to the hilt, many families are facing the ‘heat versus eat’ phenomenon and are having to cut back on essentials, because they simply can’t afford them.
It’s those that are most vulnerable, for example those with lower financial literacy, that are likely to be hit hardest. Understanding what support is available can be a confusing and time-consuming task. This results in many households missing out on payments they could be receiving. £10 billion every year goes unclaimed, which is an average of around £8000 per household.
So how do households ensure they’re getting the benefits they’re entitled to?
New to the PayCaptain website is an easy benefits calculator. The benefits calculator has been available for employees who are paid via PayCaptain payroll solution in the app for some time. With this being such a vital tool, PayCaptain has made the calculator available to a wider audience. This means that any person in the UK can access the benefits calculator free of charge.
The benefits calculator allows the user to anonymously enter their information – age, personal circumstances, number of children, salary, savings information, current benefits claimed and more. Only the user’s postcode is needed - for cross-referencing against local authority benefits that may be available.
The benefits calculator then intuitively takes the user through a series of questions based on the answers already provided.
Upon completion of the questionnaire, the user is presented with a screen showing their current income, benefits that they may be entitled to and total income which is the combination of both amounts.
The tool is free, simple to use and can point users in the direction of financial benefits they may not realise are available to them.
After the summary page, users can click on ‘more information,’ and they’ll be provided with a breakdown of the financial support that’s available to them in a report. This gives the user information on specific benefits including the amount that they're entitled to, as well as insight on grants and local support services.
The report also provides helpful links to view how the entitlements have been calculated. Links to application forms are included so they can apply directly from the benefits calculator. Further information about the benefits in the report, as well as useful insight that can be accessed on the gov.uk website is also included. The report is downloadable in PDF format.
PayCaptain encourages all employers to share the link with their employees to help them maximise their household incomes.
What happens when employees are struggling financially?
When employees are struggling financially, they generally have a higher rate of absenteeism, but they also have lower levels of productivity when at work.
In a report produced by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (‘CIPD’) in 2017, 25% of respondents stated that the stress of their financial situation had a negative impact on their productivity at work.
In other studies, employees who are experiencing financial stress admitted to spending more than 20 hours each month, whilst at work, trying to resolve their money issues.
“These figures are pre-pandemic and before the current cost of living crisis, so we can expect to see a much higher percentage of respondents suffering from financial stress in future reports.”
The PayCaptain benefits calculator is the perfect tool for employers who want to help and support their employees in these times of financial hardship.
By directing employees to the benefits calculator, they can ensure they’re not missing out on financial help that may be available to them. In the short term, this will help employees to deal with the impact of the higher cost of living. In the longer term, this will help employees reduce stress, improve their financial resilience and improve their physical and mental well-being.
What other tools are available for employees to help with the financial crisis?
The PayCaptain app has other functionality that can help employees during the financial crisis, especially those employees who are more vulnerable.
PayCaptain has partnered with Money Helper which joins up money and pensions guidance to make it quicker and easier for employees to find help. Money Helper brings together three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
Money Helper provides useful guides and online chat with experts who can provide confidential financial and debt advice. Support from Money Helper 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
Money planning tools and personalised financial guidance is also available through the PayCaptain app. The PayCaptain team remains on hand to support employees directly with best practice information and recommendations for money management.
In summary, employers can direct their employees towards the PayCaptain benefits calculator to help them understand if there are benefits that are available to them that they're not yet claiminb. By using the benefits calculator, employees may be able to get the benefits they’re entitled to, easing the financial hardship they’re experiencing.
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 well-being.
PayCaptain is a payroll solution that helps employers pay their workforce, regardless of income and personal circumstances. The solution, however, 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 October 2022, PayCaptain was awarded the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ’Software Product of the Year 2022 at the CIPP Annual Excellence Awards.