Camden Town Brewery Company is a London-based drinks and hospitality organisation with a total of 160 employees. With bars as well as a brewery in operation in the North London area it has a diverse workforce, ranging from marketing and sales teams, to engineers and warehouse staff.
The organisation became aware that its staff needed more flexibility with finance when a number of employees began asking for loans or advances.
Claire Anderson, head of people at Camden Town Brewery, says: “We decided to look at ways we could give people a bit more autonomy and control over their pay. We explored the option of using [the payroll platform] Wagestream, and as there was no cost for us to try it, we saw it as something that was very low risk.”
Camden Town Brewery went live with the initiative for its September 2018 payroll, making it available to all salaried staff.
Through the system, the organisation has chosen to release 30% of the total salary to employees before their regular payday. Employees are charged a fixed transaction fee of £1.75 when they use the system to transfer funds.
“As an employer, we don’t change anything to do with our payroll,” Anderson explains. “Wagestream issues the employee with a new bank account, which is like a ledger account. We pay money into it, and Wagestream calculates any deductions for amounts that have been released during the month, before the money goes through to the employee on payday.”
Although the new system is currently available for salaried employees only, Camden Town Brewery plans on rolling it out further in 2019. “The only people we haven’t been able to offer it to are our bar staff, who are paid hourly and have schedules that fluctuate,” says Anderson. “Their schedules are spreadsheet-based so there was no easy way of tracking everything. We plan to bring them onto an automated rota system by January or February next year, and then make the initiative available to them.”
Anderson says feedback from staff has been positive. “There have been cases where staff have needed to pay for a speeding fine and they don’t have savings, or they’ve been moving house and they needed to get to their pay sooner. Another member of staff has a situation where their rent is due two days before pay day, which made it really difficult for them, but now they can release money in time to pay.”
Camden Town Brewery staff are also provided with financial wellbeing advice from healthcare provider, Vitality. In addition, the organisation will hold a wellness month in January and February next year, during which employees will receive financial wellbeing education in organised sessions.