A recent study has revealed that the likelihood of people in working households being in poverty has steadily increased over the last 25 years, growing from 13 per cent in 1996-97 to 17 per cent in 2019-20.
The IPPR have said that the Government’s current levelling-up agenda is unlikely to benefit working families if it remains largely focused on physical infrastructure and fails to address growing inequalities. Therefore, employers are being summoned to play their part.
It has been suggested that the rise in working poverty cannot be solved by the Government alone.
The study has also identified four factors behind the growth in poverty that may be impacting employees:
- spiralling housing costs among low-income households
- low wages
- an inadequate social security system
- a lack of flexible and affordable childcare
Families of all sizes have been affected, from single parents, couples with a single earner or large families that have been hit the hardest. However, it is evident, especially after the pandemic that not all businesses can afford to increase employee wages to help with these issues.
That being said, all organisations can ensure there are sufficient financial wellbeing initiatives in place for workers. At HR Caddy, we specialise in this field and would like to advise employers on how they can act on this newfound study:
Flexible working options for parents
Flexible working hours will allow parents to work around childcare commitments that may be impacting their adaptability around a job or the affordability of the care.
If increasing employee salaries is not affordable for the company, this is a great way to attract new talent as well as keep existing employees from looking elsewhere due to any strict working hours they can no longer sustain.
Investing in employee skills
Giving your employees the opportunities to benefit from a lower paid job is crucial for retaining talent. Whether it is an online course or in-house training, workers should be given the opportunity to develop and learn new skills within the workplace.
If your employees are learning and developing in their job roles, they are more likely to stay with the business and feel they are benefitting from it.
Fixed contracts over insecure or temporary contracts
Giving employees the reassurance that they have a fixed contract in place instead of a temporary one could assist workers in feeling more secure in their job and staying with the company; especially within larger households, that seem to be impacted by poverty most.
Financial Wellbeing Policies
Employers should make sure they have a financial wellbeing policy in place so that people can access guidance and support when they need it. This kind of policy should cover a culture where employees can talk openly about money concerns, without being judged within the workplace.
Starting these conversations with employees will only assist the business in understanding work-related matters and help with staying aware of any issues that may arise in the future.
HR Caddy can guide you through the process of looking at your current workforce needs now and in the future. We always keep up to date with the latest legislation, best practice guidance and trends. For more help or advice on related matters, please contact us today.