Timely and well-targeted financial help during COVID-19: an employer-community partnership for hotel workers in New Orleans

Abstract Economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic left many households without the income necessary to meet basic needs. We describe an innovative, community-based partnership between a financial services company, philanthropic funders, and employers to provide financial assistance to hotel workers in New Orleans who lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Results […]

Use of Public Benefits Over the First Year of Pandemic

In response to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. federal government enacted initiatives designed to help households weather the pandemic’s effects. These initiatives included expansions of existing programs, such as unemployment insurance, as well as new programs like the economic impact payments. In this brief, we investigate the extent to which […]

Can Workplace Financial Counseling Help Lower-Income Workers Improve Credit Outcomes?

Financial counseling has been found to be effective in improving consumers’ credit outcomes and could be expanded through the workplace to reach lower-income workers who struggle with various financial challenges. We examine engagement and credit outcomes associated with a workplace financial counseling program offered to 2,849 frontline workers in New York City. Age and credit […]

Fintech as a Solution for Employee Financial Health: Findings from Five Exploratory Studies

The financial technology (fintech) sector has grown rapidly in recent years. Awareness and use of fintech has grown as companies in this sector have increased their user-friendly design, convenience, and accessibility. A unique fintech niche that has developed rapidly alongside the overall industry is known as “employer-channel fintech.” Offered by employers, these solutions or benefits […]

Saving for a Rainy Day: Making it Easier for Employees to Build Emergency Savings

In this study, we examined Onward, an employer-based mobile app that enables workers to save via payroll deduction and receive financial education and coaching as a means to address financial challenges such as difficulty paying bills on time, managing debt, and accruing savings. An important feature of Onward is that employees can save automatically through […]

Financing Workers’ Health Care Cash Flow Needs: A Pilot Study

MedPut offers a way for employees to pay their out-of-pocket health care expenses through payroll deducted or Health Savings Account (HSA) payments capped at 5% of gross pay. Employees that use MedPut are much more likely to report having problems paying medical bills and to report putting off health care due to cost concerns. Nearly […]

Don’t Cash Out or Leave Them Behind: A Pilot Study of a 401k Plan Transfer Digital Platform

In this study, we examined Manifest, a digital platform that makes it easier for employees to transfer 401k retirement accounts when they change jobs. Transferring accounts reduces the likelihood employees cash out and helps them consolidate their retirement savings. We examined 401k plan activity among nearly 15,000 employees of a private university over a four-year […]

From Financial Struggle to Short-Term Financial Relief – An Exploratory Study on Small-Dollar Lending for Low-and Moderate-Income Employees

In this study, we examined HoneyBee, a service company that provides access to 0% APR loans and financial coaching through the workplace. HoneyBee aims to offer employees in need a more affordable credit alternative to payday and auto title loans and therefore help addressing significant cash flow emergencies. Data for this exploratory study included 65 […]

Employer-Sponsored Financial Planning: A Study of the Brightside Platform

In this report, we explore employee usage trends of Brightside, an employee financial health platform that is designed to improve the financial health of working families. Using this platform, employees can open “cases” to address a financial need or goal they have. Brightside connects these employees with financial assistants who, in turn, connect the employees […]

Employee financial wellness programs: Opportunities to promote financial inclusion?

Findings suggest that these services are reaching a population that experiences financial exclusion, though evidence is mixed concerning how these services help workers with LMI resolve key financial challenges. Community collaboration focused on employee financial wellness presents opportunities to advocate for higher wages and better benefits.

Employee financial wellness programs: Promising new benefit for frontline workers?

Availability of different EFWP benefits ranged from 11 to 15% and over a third of workers were unaware of whether their employer offered an EFWP. Experiencing financial difficulties predicted both EFWP awareness and use suggesting that employers should take time to assess employees’ specific financial challenges to select benefits. Yet, use of EFWPs by LMI workers may suggest the need for better compensation and work conditions.

Strategies for Debt Reduction: Comparing Financial Tips and Financial Counseling

Interest among employers is growing in Employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs), a new type of benefit to address financial stress among employees. EFWPs benefits include financial counseling, small-dollar loans, and savings programs that address employees’ non-retirement financial needs. Little evidence exists concerning the availability and use of and outcomes associated with EFWPs, especially among low- and moderate-income (LMI) workers who may be in greatest need of these benefits. We present findings concerning awareness and use of EFWPs from a national survey of LMI workers (N=16,650). Availability of different EFWP benefits ranged from 11 to 15% and over a third of workers were unaware of whether their employer offered an EFWP. Experiencing financial difficulties predicted both EFWP awareness and use suggesting that employers take time to assess employees’ specific financial challenges to select benefits. Yet use of EFWPs by LMI workers may suggest the need for better compensation and work conditions.

Employee Financial Wellness Programs: tips for providers

There are several types of Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs), such as workplace financial counseling, workplace credit building, and employer-sponsored small dollar loans. Each program benefits the company and its employees in different ways.

The Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, with generous support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, studied the implementation of EFWPs at several diverse organizations, including a nonprofit in the Midwest and several supply chain locations of a national retailer, to understand the impact. As a result, we’ve identified five ways in which providers can maximize the benefits of EFWPs and avoid pitfalls along the way.

Employee Financial Wellness Programs: tips for employers

There are several types of Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs), such as workplace financial counseling, workplace credit building, and employer-sponsored small dollar loans. Each program benefits the company and its employees in different ways.

The Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis, with generous support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, studied the implementation of EFWPs at several diverse organizations, including a nonprofit in the Midwest and several supply chain locations of a national retailer, to understand the impact. As a result, we’ve identified four ways in which organizations can maximize the benefits of EFWPs and avoid pitfalls along the way.

Financial counseling for front-line workers: a pilot study of engagement and outcomes

Although financial counseling has been studied in community-based settings, programs offered in the workplace are understudied and yet may aid low- to moderate income employees in improving their financial situations. This study examines workers’ engagement in and associated credit outcomes from an employer-based financial counseling program in the New York City area. Findings suggest that participants engaged equally in services except for older and non-English speaking workers, who had lower levels of digital engagement. In-person engagement in services was minimal. Credit score improvements were modest, but greater for workers who had

scores in the lowest quartile at baseline. These credit score increases may be due to the reduction of delinquent accounts for workers with the lowest baseline scores.

Employee financial wellness programs: promising new benefit for frontline workers?

Interest among employers is growing in Employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs), a new type of benefit to address financial stress among employees. EFWPs benefits include financial counseling, small-dollar loans, and savings programs that address employees’ non-retirement financial needs. Little evidence exists concerning the availability and use of and outcomes associated with EFWPs, especially among low- and moderate-income (LMI) workers who may be in greatest need of these benefits. We present findings concerning awareness and use of EFWPs from a national survey of LMI workers (N=16,650). Availability of different EFWP benefits ranged from 11 to 15% and over a third of workers were unaware of whether their employer offered an EFWP. Experiencing financial difficulties predicted both EFWP awareness and use suggesting that employers take time to assess employees’ specific financial challenges to select benefits. Yet use of EFWPs by LMI workers may suggest the need for better compensation and work conditions.

Credit-building services for employees: An assessment of engagement and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project. In this study, we examine administrative data for national nonprofit Working Credit’s employee benefit, which combines credit building education, one-on-one counseling, and access to financial products to help workers establish good credit. Working Credit offers credit-building services […]

Workplace credit-building counseling at a Midwest employer: An assessment of take-up, engagement, and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project. In this study, we focus on a workplace credit-building counseling program. This service is offered by a non-profit service provider that combines credit-building education, one-on-one counseling, and access to financial products to help low-income workers establish good […]

Financial counseling for low- and moderate-income home health care employees: An assessment of take-up, engagement, and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project. In this study, we analyze administrative data and interviews regarding Trusted Advisor, a workplace financial wellness benefit offering one-on-one counseling linked to vetted financial tools. The purpose of this study was to examine take-up, engagement, and financial […]

Employer-sponsored small-dollar loans: An assessment of take-up, engagement, and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project. In this study, we focus on an employer-sponsored small-dollar loan (ESSDL) product, TrueConnect loans, aimed at providing employees an affordable credit alternative to payday, auto title, and other high-cost loans. We present and discuss results of our […]

Financial counseling for low- and moderate-income employees: An assessment of engagement and outcomes

This is one research brief in a series of five completed through the Employee Financial Wellness Programs Project supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this study, we focus on the results of analyses of administrative data for Trusted Advisor, a workplace financial wellness benefit offering one-on-one counseling linked to vetted financial tools. This service […]

When a job is not enough: Employee financial wellness and the role of philanthropy

Employee financial wellness programs provide workplace products and services such as financial coaching and small-dollar credit products that may help employees address the various challenges that are at the root of their financial stress. This report is intended to offer guidance to grant makers to understand the role philanthropy can play in promoting the development […]

Dependent care FSAs: The uneven playing field for employers and workers

This research was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. We thank them for their support but acknowledge that the findings and conclusions presented in this report are those of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Foundation.The authors are grateful to Don Baylor at the Annie E. Casey Foundation […]

Financial wellness programs in the workplace: Employer motivations and experiences

Employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs) are a benefit innovation that promise to address the financial challenges of employees while also benefiting employers. Results from a mixed-methods study of employers suggest early adopters appear to be motivated primarily by a desire to help employees. EFWP success may depend on promotion by organizational champions. Programs that accommodate […]

Employee financial wellness programs: Differences in reach by financial circumstances

Workplace-based Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs) aim to strengthen employees’ financial well-being through services such as financial coaching, payroll advances and short term installment loans, credit counseling, debt management, and online financial management tools. Although EFWPs are a fast-growing part of employee benefit packages, offerings vary widely in service type and delivery method across employers, […]

Employee financial wellness programs: Differences in reach by race and ethnicity

Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWPs) consist of a wide array of workplace-based services and benefits that aim to enhance employees’ financial well-being, such as in-person financial coaching, online financial management tools, and payroll advances or short-term loans. EFWP provision varies across employers with few organizations offering the same set of services. The recently released Employee […]