Employee Benefits Live: Employers should consider the needs of low paid staff

Stephen Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness, at The Work Foundation, sheds light on the needs of low paid staff during the age of austerity.

Addressing delegates during his keynote session on the second day of Employee Benefits Live 2011, Bevan said there were 10 million workers in the UK earning below £15,000. “These people are in and out of work, they may be vulnerable workers and they may be precarious workers.”

Bevan said the economic climate, which has resulted in reduced working hours, pay cuts and freezes, has increased the financial pressures experienced by low paid workers.

“The squeeze is on in terms of domestic finance and price rises”, he explained.

A third of all calls to employee assistance programmes concern debt, which is a common trigger for mental health problems and the associated absence from work and presenteeism.

Research from The Work Foundation, said Bevan, showed a strong unmet demand for workplace financial education and advice services, including face-to-face and group sessions on national insurance, tax and pensions.

Bevan said: “Austerity often stimulates innovation and lateral thinking, and this could not be truer for reward and benefits.”

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