How Employers Can Provide Support During the Cost-of-Living Crisis

Posted on Thursday, 22nd Sep '22

Duane Jackson by Duane Jackson

As we head through a difficult period of political, international and financial turmoil, employees will be struggling. While the outside world is out of employers’ control, financial trouble can be alleviated with employers’ help. While inflation-led pay rises may not be feasible for every business, there are steps employers can take to help employees.

Employers and companies themselves will be seeing a change in budgets due to increased energy and electricity costs, as well as supplier cost increases but at serious times like these, maintaining employees and ensuring that they feel valued and supported is the highest priority.

What can companies do to help during the cost-of-living crisis?

Here are things that companies can do during the cost-of-living crisis for their employees:

1. Bring pay rises forward

If employees are due a pay rise, or you were planning to give them one, where possible, bring it forward. The extra money will enable them to save or just weather the increase in the cost of living. While inflation has hit 9%, the Bank of England states that they expect it will continue to rise for a bit, before slowing down and eventually returning to 2% in the next two years.

By giving people pay rises where possible, you not only show them they are valued by the company, but that you want them to stay with you in the long run.

2. Allow increased remote working

For many working in offices, remote working is entirely possible, and it can also be a huge cost saver for employees, especially with the increasing fuel prices. Allowing staff to work remotely either part or all of the week provides employees with the chance to save more money, especially for those who commute long distances.

Some companies offer bike schemes for local employees, and this can be a valuable tool, but only if you have showering facilities at work. With this, it’s worth discussing with your employees what they may want. For example, some employees won’t want to work at home, or can’t, due to poor internet, family members causing distractions etc. This will need to be agreed upon per employee and shouldn’t be a sweeping statement.

3. Focus benefits on ones that provide value

While benefits such as life insurance, more holiday days and others are all valued, at the minute, checking your benefits programs to ensure that at least one benefit you provide is of demonstratable monetary value will be appreciated.

These could be:

  • Fuel cards provide a reduced cost at petrol stations, allowing users to get discounted fuel.
  • Discounts on specific stores, such as supermarkets or other essential stores. Online discount schemes will often be able to administer these easily through cashback or similar.
  • Lunch vouchers. While in France you can get tax relief for lunch vouchers, the same does not apply in the UK. However, providing a lunch benefit or similar means that employees can have a little extra boost each month.
  • Childcare support. For parents, childcare is a huge monthly outgoing. While the government only provides up to 30 paid hours a week, for parents who are working more than that, the costs increase quickly. Providing a childcare benefit, whether this is access to a nursery near your office or discounted childcare, is a huge help to working parents.
  • Earned wage access. Available with Staffology through our partner Revolut, you can provide pay on demand, where as employees earn their pay, they can withdraw it at the click of a button. This is great for getting through a difficult month with ease.

4. Offer interest-free ‘emergency funds’

At times like these, a boiler breaking or a car needing serious repairs can be devastating, especially if there is only one source of income in a household. Some employers have an emergency fund that employees can pay back over a series of months to save their credit scores.

This pot is set aside for emergencies and is confidential. Knowing that this kind of support is there is fantastic, especially for employees who don’t have savings or family members they can ask for help from.

5. Strengthen sick leave and parental leave policies

Taking sick leave or time to care for your children, loved ones, or yourself can be scary at the minute, as any pay lost can be the difference between food on the table or not. Take this time to ensure your sick and parental leave policies, as well as any others like compassionate leave, provide employees with the support they need, as well as ensure any money lost is not too drastic.

As statutory pay is not enough for a busy family, it’s important that employers consider what is feasible and also what they feel is right to do. Communicating with employees can help to reveal where there could be more help, and also where employees may be struggling more.

6. Provide mental health services

With times of recession comes anxiety. A rising number of adults in the UK are already on anti-depressants, and the past two years have worsened many people’s mental health.

Workplaces can provide employees with a place to step away from home worries, but sometimes they do overlap. You also want employees to come to work feeling prepared and ready.

Giving employees access to apps like Calm or Headspace, or providing access to a therapy service or similar, provides a way for employees to look after their mental well-being.  

7. Get payroll right

Getting payroll wrong can cause stress, concern and worry for the employees affected. One of the biggest things companies can do right now is to ensure that they get payroll right every time. If an underpayment is made, or payments are made too late, this can mean that people will have Direct Debits bounce, which can cause increased stress, especially for those that are already running paycheck to paycheck.

Staffology Payroll is a fully cloud-based payroll software with intelligent automation. This reduces the amount of manual processing and flags up errors. Why not try us today to see how we can help improve your payroll processing?

Duane Jackson, September 22nd, 2022

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