One in five wellness schemes will never include financial advice

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Almost half (49%) of firms offer financial advice and education, but 18% have no plans to ever offer this

One in five (18%) firms with wellness schemes have no plans to include financial education and advice in their programmes, according to research from the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA).

Almost half (49%) of firms do offer financial advice and education, according to the Employee Wellness Research 2016 report, and 17% hope to add it to their current wellness strategy in 2016. A further 15% plan to add it at some point further in the future.

Ant Donaldson, global product expert, benefits at E.On, said offering these services could help reduce unnecessary stresses on workers. “Financial issues can be a significant cause of distraction and stress for employees,” he said. “Providing education around financial matters can help support them to make sound financial decisions and hopefully prevent money worries.

“These days staff are faced with far-reaching choices around pensions and other financial products and we feel we should help equip them to deal with those decisions effectively,” he added.

The report also found that 20% of firms with a wellness programme plan to include an alcohol or tobacco use plan in the future, while 69% currently do. Meanwhile 24% hope to introduce a healthy eating scheme (currently already offered by 73%), and 19% are aiming to broaden their strategy to include mental health, something already implemented by 79%.

While more than two-thirds (70%) of those polled have no wellness strategy in place yet, most (98%) were open to the idea. A third (31%) of the group with no strategy plan to implement one within the next year, and a further 35% are looking to expand their programmes in the near but not immediate future. A third (32%) see it as an item on their 'wish list', and only 2% had no interest in implementing one.

Beate O’Neil, head of wellness consulting for Punter Southall Health and Protection Consulting, said that wellness is good for both staff and business: “The way employers support and educate employees with health and wellness will, we believe, have a direct impact on productivity and their ability to attract and retain high-quality staff in the future.”

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