Supporting employees through the winter months during the cost-of-living crisis

Together we are Forbes


15 November, 2022

Alice McKenna

As the cost of living continues to rise, the pressures that employees face can feel insurmountable. It is key that employers prioritise ways in which they can support their employees through this time. This is especially important as we enter the winter months, as household bills rise, and budgets tighten.

The financial stress of the crisis may already be having an adverse effect on employees' work, with an increased number of people requesting further resources from their employer to improve their financial and mental wellbeing.

Many employers are speaking with their employees to determine what they would benefit from, and sometimes solutions can be provided on a limited budget that doesn't always necessitate an increase in salary or a cost of living one off payment. We have included a few examples below:

Salary sacrifice schemes

By enabling employees to utilise salary sacrifice schemes, they can receive valuable benefits without the added stress of how they can afford it. In practice for example, an employee may be able to exchange part of their salary for additional non-cash benefits such as childcare vouchers or a bicycle through a cycle to work scheme.

Embrace flexible working

For employees who commute to work, the rise in fuel prices can make working in the office very costly. In the alternative, for employees who live closer to work, working in the office can be a favourable option in order to avoid paying additional gas and heating costs. This again is especially important throughout the winter months. Providing employees with the option of flexibility where possible can help them both financially and personally.

Increase focus on financial wellbeing and mental health

Employers may wish to increase their focus and commit to supporting their employees' financial wellbeing. This can be achieved through a policy that directs employees to independent money and debt guidance, or providing access to resources from experts on financial education and debt management, with the desire to normalise conversations regarding concerns about money at work. Employers should also ensure that employees know what existing benefits are available, such as counselling services which cover finance and debt, any annual leave sell back scheme, or staff discounts.

By informing employees how they can access free and independent advice and resources, this can help to alleviate financial stress. Employers should also ensure their managers are trained on how to provide appropriate support, and signposting, for their employees.

Whilst each individual situation is different, collectively we are all affected by the cost-of-living crisis - employees and employers alike. Demonstrating that your organisation has acknowledged the current crisis and the difficulties which exist, and which lie ahead, is key to maintaining a positive workplace, and staff retention and recruitment.

Whether it is handling a flexible working request, dealing with individual employee concerns or effecting financial changes, it is important to ensure actions are implemented properly and clearly. Our Employment team can assist you during this time.

For more information contact Alice McKenna in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01254 222373. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Housing & Regeneration department here

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