Millions of British workers are facing a personal financial crisis because of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. With over nine million1 people currently furloughed, the evidence for this mounting problem is growing: already 1.9 million2 mortgage borrowers have taken payment holidays, while a further 1.5 million3 people have been given payment holidays on their loans and credit cards.
While the virus continues to disrupt business, with ordinary workers feeling the impact in their pay packets, the need for financial advice has arguably never been greater. Yet many people either cannot afford or cannot find simple, helpful money advice. Until now.
WorkLife, a new employee benefits platform created for small businesses and their workers, launches today offering a range of benefits and services usually only available to staff at big corporate firms. Chief among these benefits will be free financial advice, offering people much-needed support during these difficult times.
At launch, WorkLife will be free for the rest of the year, saving an SME with 50 employees £600 over the next six months 4. This means that even those firms hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak will be able to offer their workers valuable benefits and support, at no cost to the business in 2020.
WorkLife is the digital platform from OpenMoney. Anthony Morrow, founder and chief executive of OpenMoney, believes workers have been poorly served by traditional financial services companies.
Morrow explains: “Small companies and their employees make up the biggest chunk of UK businesses and the country’s workforce. They are the nation’s engine room and its lifeblood. Without their hard work and earnings, the economy has ground to a halt.
“These workers deserve to be looked after, especially when so many have been furloughed and are facing money worries. It can be difficult to know where to turn to for advice on financial matters, so with the WorkLife platform we are finally giving smaller companies the tools they need to offer their employees this vital support.”
In addition to financial advice provided by OpenMoney, WorkLife also offers mental wellbeing guidance from Thrive. Discounts are also available for employees with Purecard, which offers money off at big brand restaurants and retailers. All of these are available immediately at no extra cost to the employee.
WorkLife users will also get great rates on life and critical illness insurance from Anorak and household insurance from Uinsure, as well as health and wellbeing deals via My Active Discounts, with more benefits and discounts to follow soon.
The WorkLife platform is simple for employers to set up online, linking up with payroll information and workplace pensions, so employees can see all their benefits and salary in one place. Employers can even add their own benefits and rewards. The platform can be used to communicate with workers to keep them up to date with their total benefits package and new products.
It is just as simple for staff themselves to log on to the platform, via a smartphone, tablet or computer, so they can choose their benefits and keep track of what they have. If they take advantage of all the offers, benefits and discounts available via WorkLife, their savings could add up to the equivalent of hundreds of pounds extra in an employee’s salary each year.
Robert Marshall, managing director of WorkLife, says this desire to support employees in every aspect of their life is at the heart of WorkLife’s mission.
Marshall says: “Most employee benefits providers usually focus on big companies where they can turn a buck because of the size and sheer numbers of staff. They’ve ignored the SME sector because a company with 50 employees isn’t profitable enough for them.
“With WorkLife we are blowing that assumption out of the water and helping to empower employers at a time when they and their staff need it most. We know that increasingly people look to the companies they work for as a trusted source of help and information. By offering WorkLife free to employers for the rest of the year, we hope that this can help them give their people the kind of helping hand they need right now.”
WorkLife launches on 25 June and will be offered free of charge for the rest of 2020. The normal cost is £2 per employee per month, with no additional setup charge. It can be accessed via www.worklifebenefits.uk.