Slideshow 5 signs your employees are financially stressed

Published
  • January 22 2016, 12:30am EST

Are your employees getting sick from the “financial flu?” Employees who are financially stressed may take more sick days and be less productive when they are at work. “When employees are distracted at work by their financial situation, they perform personal financial tasks while on the clock and take more sick days. That means job performance suffers,” says Christy Defrain, vice president, account management at Purchasing Power. “Their financial situation doesn’t just affect the employee. It’s a big drain on the employer as well.” Watch out for these financial flu symptoms and adjust your financial wellness program accordingly.

1. Withdrawing loans against retirement savings

According to a 2015 Harris Poll, 62% of HR professionals said employees were more likely to request retirement loans in 2013 compared to previous years. “Help your employees understand the concept of compound interest and the reality of the effect that withdrawals have on their long-term savings goals. Ask your retirement program vendor to provide education sessions throughout the year,” says Purchasing Power.

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2. Asking for payday advances

Employees who need short-term cash have limited options, Purchasing Power notes. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, finance charges on a typical payday loan can equate to 400% APR. To help, provide employees with access to budgeting tools to help them with their short-term planning goals.


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3. Unexpected absences

Almost 40% of benefit professionals say employees have missed work due to financial emergencies in the last year, according to the 2014 SHRM financial stress survey findings.


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4. Preventable medical issues

For working-age Americans, 36% failed to visit a doctor or access other medical services due to financial barriers in 2015, according to the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey. It’s important employers offer wellness programs, workout opportunities as well as health screenings. “Physical activity can help relieve stress; health screenings can help uncover some issues, and encourage yearly checkups,” advises Purchasing Power.


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5. Spending time dealing with personal finances at work

37% of employees are spending an average of two hours per week dealing with personal finances at work, the 2015 Harris Poll notes. “Most employees probably don’t realize how much time they are spending [on personal finances during work time],” Purchasing Power says. “Provide a private room or area that employees can use for personal business calls they must make during office hours. Ask that they limit their time in that room.”


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