The recession is over, but times are still tough. According to a new CareerBuilder survey of workers who currently have a minimum wage job or have held one in the past, 67 percent said they couldn’t make ends meet, and 49 percent said they had to work more than one job to make things work.
But it’s not just minimum wage workers who are struggling. Nearly 1 in 5 (19 percent) of all salary levels were not able to make ends meet last year.
On top of that:
- 65 percent of all workers say they’re in debt.
- 18 percent of employees have reduced their 401(k) contribution and/or personal savings in the last year.
- 28 percent of workers didn’t set aside any savings.
What Can You Do To Help?
Studies show that workers who aren’t distracted by financial worries and have the opportunity to have quality time with their families are more productive at work — and tend to stick around longer. There are a number of ways you can help employees make ends meet, but to choose appropriate offerings you need to know what will benefit your employees most. Some suggestions:
1. Appropriate parental leave: Even as employees are increasingly tethered to their work, a workplace culture that doesn’t urge new parents to hurry back to their cubicles makes life a bit easier for mothers and fathers juggling the demands of work and parenthood.
2. Paid sick days: Many workers, worried they will have to take an unpaid day off work, feel unable to take the time they need to recover from an illness. Further, many parents are forced to choose between taking off work — losing much needed income and potentially threatening their jobs — and sending a sick child who should be home in bed to school.
3. Affordable child care: When parents can’t afford to pay the market rates of high-quality child care, they make alternate choices that might risk their careers. By assisting working parents in sourcing child care benefits, employers provide a benefit that not only increases workers’ productivity through reduction of stress — it also helps create happy, loyal employees.
4. Boosting medical and retirement benefits: You can’t always raise salaries and wages, so offering a well-designed, generous employee benefits package including medical and retirement benefits can help cut some costs for employees. Consider increasing your company’s contributions toward health insurance or contributing toward the cost of insuring dependents.
Your employees are the ones who set you apart from the competition, and they are the ones who will pull you through challenging times. We’ve offered a few suggestions, but what else do you think HR can do to help cash-strapped workers?