We all know the sharks that swim in financial waters preying on the weakest and driving them and their families into deeper debt with all the social and health problems that “deep debt” brings.
And I’m sure that if it were within our gift to give the people we operate payroll for, a better option than the 1000% + payday loans, we’d be keen to help.
So when I got an invite from Ceridian to go to Westminster and hear Lindsay Melvin of the CIPP and Treasury minister Andrea Leadsom talk about how payroll can work with credit unions, I rearranged my diary.
And I’m very pleased I did.
There are a number of studies both here and abroad that show that those with acute money problems can’t focus on their work and are less productive as a result. There is a commercial argument for employers to pay attention to this area of staff welfare and many good employers do offer confidential counselling where it is needed.
But the chronic problem with debt can only be solved by getting people to be “money saving experts”. Regular saving can create a capital reservoir that pays for the boiler blowing or the washing machine breaking down. But many find that organising themselves to save is hard. That’s why Christmas clubs exist.
Since the introduction of auto-enrolment, payroll has helped over 4m employees to save regularly for their retirement. The payroll industry had no choice in this and I’m sure that many reading this article will say “small thanks we get for it”. I work in pensions and I know that payroll did the heavy lifting and those I work with right up to the Pensions minister know it too. And there’s none of us who wouldn’t want to praise you for making AE work.
To throw at Payroll a further challenge of organising payroll saving into credit unions may be an “ask too far”. But it’s a challenge that payroll should accept. There is a triple win if we can get payroll saving to credit unions into our DNA.
- Employees get a means of getting short term security and the back up of access to a much cheaper form of finance if they get into trouble.
- Employers get to help staff stay away from the sharks, so increasing productivity
- Credit Unions get a reliable source of funding and a more creditworthy customer.
The CIPP has recently completed a survey of 2000 low-paid employees (the average income working out at just over £16,000). The survey asked
“if you don’t currently save for a rainy day through your payroll would you consider doing so if offered by your employer?”
41% of respondents said yesterday and a further 24% thought they might do.
I personally save into a credit union, not out of altruism, but because it gives me a good return. I found out about them from Martin Lewis http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/credit-unions
But it makes me happier to know my savings are doing good , than lining banker’s profits and I’m sure many of you will feel the same way if you set up a credit union savings option from your payroll.