Adult health and social care charity Making Space has become the latest organisation to roll out a new set of financial wellbeing benefits, including real-time pay - also known as Earned Wage Access (EWA) - in order to support employees' financial wellbeing.
The organisation is partnering with charity-backed fintech Wagestream, giving its 1,000 employees access to a set of financial tools through a mobile app, which make it easier to access, track, save and manage their wages throughout the month.
Making Space is the latest in a raft of businesses rolling out financial wellbeing policies and switching to EWA, as they look for ways to support staff through the financial and mental health impact of COVID-19. With 9 million UK workers borrowing more than usual last year, new research from the CIPD this week highlights that close to half of employers have reconsidered their approach to financial wellbeing as a result of the pandemic.
The charity joins the likes of Bupa, Greene King, Fuller's, Prezzo, Honest Burgers, Toolstation, Harbour Healthcare and more than 25 NHS Trusts, in rolling out Wagestream during the pandemic; almost half a million employees now have access to the platform, including 100,000 NHS workers. Launched less than three years ago, charity-backed Wagestream has closed a £20m Series B and announced a European expansion partnership with VISA during COVID-19, as demand for financial wellbeing platforms continues to accelerate.
Phil Orton, Executive Director of HR at Making Space, explains: “This is something we are delighted to be able to offer our staff, especially now during what has been such a challenging time for service delivery and household finances. Since launching Wagestream the feedback has been incredibly positive and it is becoming a tool we can’t imagine being without. Attracting the best people with the right values is a key aim of our people strategy and colleagues are already telling us how useful it is.”
Virginia Massaro, Chief Financial Officer of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which recently rolled out Wagestream through its partnership with Allocate, said: “We rely on agency staff to support our continued efforts in keeping staffing levels safe especially during these unprecedented times. The costs are significant for all NHS trusts, and any innovation which increases the use of bank staff is to be encouraged. Giving staff the chance to access their pay immediately is a win-win situation for both them and the Trust, and it’s great to be able to give members of the team more control over their money."
The Wagestream app provides employees with a suite of financial resilience tools — allowing them to track their income, put money away with a micro-savings tool called Safestream, and learn money skills with financial education delivered within the app in conjunction with The Money Advice Service. The app also gives them more power over their pay, with EWA (Earned Wage Access) — helping them deal with unexpected expenses by accessing a percentage of their earned wages throughout the month, for a flat £1.75 fee. No loans are involved, no interest is charged, and it is proven by data to reduce reliance on predatory lenders and other forms of credit.
Research now shows that 77% of employees with access to Wagestream feel less stressed, 38% have avoided going into their overdraft and 43% have actively avoided having to use a payday loan.