Kronos, Even partner to offer employees access to advance payday

Kronos has partnered with financial app Even, allowing employers using its platform to provide its employees early access to their pay, the companies said Thursday.

The new partnership will add Even’s financial wellness app to Kronos Workforce Dimensions Marketplace, enabling businesses that use the cloud-based workforce management tool to offer the Even app to their employees. HR software maker Kronos, which private equity firm Hellman & Friedman took private in 2007 for $1.8 billion, is based in Lowell, Massachusetts.

The partnership “will enable millions of people who work at companies that use Kronos for scheduling and payroll to better budget their earnings every pay period,” says Jon Schlossberg, Even’s CEO and co-founder.

Even, which connects to workers’ bank accounts, allows employees to access a portion of wages for hours they already have worked before their payday. It also helps employees create savings goals and a budget by pinpointing exactly how much they can safely spend before their next paycheck.

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Nearly 20% of Americans don’t save any of their annual income, while another 21% only save 5% or less, according to Bankrate. Those dire statistics showcase the need for resources, such as Even, “to help people take control of their finances and set themselves up for future success,” the companies said in a statement.

Key to the integration with Workforce Dimensions, says Even, is its schedule and earnings product that allows users to view their upcoming shift schedules and review how much they’ve earned during previous shifts. These schedules are directly linked to Kronos time management and automatically appear in the Even app as managers add shifts to a user’s schedule. Users can review their shifts and earned wages within the Even app.

More than 10 employers, including Walmart, offer Even — which launched in 2014 — as a benefit to workers.

The retail giant said last month at the Benefits Forum & Expo that more than 250,000 Walmart employees — just under 20% of its workforce — are using Even, a 212% growth in participation from March, when 80,000 employees were enrolled in the program.

“One of the biggest problems employees have [with money] is timing, when income and expenses don’t always add up,” Scott Pullen, Walmart’s senior benefits manager, said during the conference, hosted by Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser. “You get paid every two weeks, but your bills are every month. And because sometimes those timings are off, just even by a day or two, it can drive late fees.”

See also: Time to kill annual performance reviews — and 14 other takeaways from the Benefits Forum & Expo

Pullen acknowledged that there can be some flaws to implementing a program such as Even, citing a recent opinion piece on EBN that dug into some of the risks of on-demand pay apps, including hidden fees.

To avoid potential pitfalls, he said, Walmart put in place a number of “guiderails” around the product “to make sure [getting advance pay] didn’t become a habit.” Those include only allowing workers access to early wages one time per pay period and limiting access to a maximum of 50% of the net wages that they’ve earned “so they can never have a zero-dollar paycheck at the end of the cycle.”

Schlossberg says that although there’s no silver bullet for employees’ financial problems, the app is helping people get more control over their situation.

“It’s not a loan,” he said. “It’s an advance; you’ve already earned this money. There’s no fees, there’s no interest.”

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