Your workforce carries higher education debt than you think. Sixty-five percent of college-educated Americans are managing student loan payments right now. On average they owe $39,351 each, according to First Republic Bank.
Carrying a financial burden that heavy can impact employee wellbeing and productivity. Especially when COVID-19 federal relief benefits eventually will expire.
What employers can do
It’s time to keep an eye out for employees who are struggling. Provide them with counseling and other support services to help them improve their financial (and mental) wellness.
What does your Employee Assistance Program have to offer?
Something that may help identify who needs help: an employee survey! Ask about their level of participation in the company retirement plan.
Employees may be delaying retirement investment due to student loan debt. Or their focus may be on paying down debt and they aren’t thinking about retirement.
Create a partnership
Another solution is to partner with a student loan benefits provider, such as Goodly or Tuition.io. They allow employers to make direct payments to employee loans or contribute to a 529 education savings plan.
Also, options exist for employer contributions to pay that debt down even faster and for employees with unused paid time off to convert it into a student loan payment.
A student loan assistance benefit can reduce turnover and absenteeism. That positively impacts your company’s bottom line. Because when employees aren’t worried about their finances, they can focus on their work and do a better job.