Innovative debt relief benefits: They can help attract, keep workers

Innovative Debt Relief Benefits: They can Help Attract, Keep Workers

Employee surveys show that financial worry is a leading cause of workplace stress in the U.S., contributing to $250 billion in stress-related lost productivity each year.

Because employee debt’s the biggest contributor to those worries, more firms are looking at offering debt relief benefits alongside more traditional benefits.

Debt assistance is also proving a powerful tool for attracting, hiring and retaining new workers, especially young people with heavy student loan burdens.

The Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI) says 70% of recent grads enter the workforce with debt.

Debt relief benefits for firms of all sizes

Large companies able to design, implement and fund debt assistance programs are leading the way.

Pharma giant Abbott Laboratories, insurer Aetna, and accountancy firm PWC all offer student loan relief. And insurer Unum offers an innovative perk that allows its workers to trade PTO for student debt assistance.

But even for smaller organizations, a number of third-party providers offer debt assistance solutions that run the gamut from medical bill audits and negotiation to emergency loans.

Fidelity’s Student Debt Employer Contribution program manages contributions to workers’ retirement accounts that kick in if they commit to pay down student loans.

MedPut and Remedy help with medical debt by auditing bills for errors. MedPut negotiates lower amounts owed and offers interest free loans to help pay off doctors’ bills.

Companies like HoneyBee, SalaryFinance and TrueConnect provide debt relief benefits like salary advances and low-interest emergency loans to help avoid payday loans with sky-high interest rates. HoneyBee’s unique plan secures loans with employees’ PTO.

Debt assistance can pay off for employers of all sizes through improved retention and engagement, lower health costs and other benefits.

It’s worth looking into whether there’s an option that works for you.

Lynn Cavanaugh
Lynn, a member of the HRMorning staff, is an award-winning editor who writes about HR, benefits and compensation topics. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of Woman’s Own and American Woman magazines. Email: lcavanaugh@hrmorning.com