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Wellbeing & Benefits

A new national movement has launched this week calling upon the UK’s largest employers to take a more proactive role in improving the financial health of their workforce. This National Wellness Conversation will shine a light on the aspirations of people across the UK – regardless of their age, job role or salary – and how employers are uniquely positioned to promote good money management.

Insight from the Money and Pensions Service has revealed more than 20 million people in the UK cannot manage their money, 11.5 million have less than £100 in savings and nine million are in serious debt. By signing up to the National Wellness Conversation, employers across the public and private sector signal their intention to adopt financial health strategies to benefit their workforce.

Will Serle, Chief People Officer at Capita, one of the earliest supporters of the National Wellness Conversation, said: “The National Wellness Conversation is a fantastic initiative that recognises the role employers play in the financial wellbeing of their staff. We are delighted to support this and will be encouraging others to do the same.”

The National Wellness Conversation is the brainchild of Stephen Holliday, CEO of the fintech scale-up Level Financial Technology, which provides a range of services including budgeting tools powered by Open Banking, salary-linked savings, early wage access and financial education and advice from the Money & Pensions Service.

He said: “True financial freedom can only be achieved by promoting positive behavioural change – something that is as applicable to someone saving for their first house as it is to someone looking to take control of their pension.

“We have seen the benefits of physical and mental health strategies in the workplace, but employers are now uniquely positioned to empower their staff to take control of their finances as well. We are calling upon employers to join the National Wellness Conversation and show their commitment to financial health.”

Money worries are the biggest source of stress for UK employees, leading to a drop in productivity and billions of pounds lost to the UK economy. Absenteeism and workplace illness caused by financial stress is believed to cost businesses approximately 4% of payroll costs each year.

Holliday added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has created financial hardship for millions – and while there is cause for optimism with the vaccine rollout, the true economic toll will be felt for some time yet. For many Brits, finances can be a taboo subject, meaning many suffer in silence. It’s time to bring that to an end.”

David Haigh, Strategy Advisor at the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) said: “On behalf of the Money and Pensions Service we welcome the National Wellness Conversation initiative.

“Talking about money can often be the first step towards getting support and guidance to help improve your financial wellbeing and employers play an important role in this. We’re working with employers in the UK as part of the UK strategy to improve financial wellbeing.

“MaPS offers a wide range of support to employers to help people within their organisation with their financial wellbeing and it’s essential that people talk about and share their concerns regarding money not only with family and trusted friends but their employers as well.”

Harriet Shepherd, Workplace Financial Wellbeing Manager at FTSE 100-listed St. James’s Place Wealth Management, added: “At St. James’s Place we are committed to supporting financial wellbeing initiatives and are delighted to support the National Wellness Conversation as a Business Champion.”

  • Employees looking for help and advice from the National Wellness Conversation can visit: nationalwellness.co.uk
  • Employers looking to become supporters of the National Wellness Conversation should visit: nationalwellness.co.uk/employer
  • Employers and employees are encouraged to share their money stories on social media using #nationalwellnessconversation

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