Illuminating a Hidden Safety Net: Lessons from Research into Employee Hardship Fund

By Sarah Cable, ACCP

A growing issue in many communities throughout the U.S. – and the world – is financial insecurity. In the past, employers have been able to assist workers in certain financial situations. Today, especially with a rise in natural disasters creating financial shocks, companies are seeing a need for policy surrounding employee hardship funds in order to support their employees.

According to the Aspen Institute and Commonwealth’s recently published report on employee hardship funds, “over a quarter of families in the U.S. report that it is difficult to get by, or they feel they are just getting by, and over four in 10 report that they could not pay a $400 emergency expense without borrowing or selling something.”

Employee hardship funds often require both a company and its employees to contribute to a fund, allowing employees to apply for a grant in a time of need, for example an unexpected disaster. Employee hardship funds may not be the full answer to financial health, but the Aspen Institute and Commonwealth found that 60% of employees found the funds reduced their stress, and 72% were more likely to stay with a company if it provided an employee hardship fund. While these funds can create a trust and community within a company, the program must be planned and implemented well to see maximum impact.

ACCP is excited to host a joint webcast with the Aspen Institute and Commonwealth which will delve into their findings, including the creation and financial impact of employee hardship funds, why they are needed, how they benefit both employees and employers, and their recommendations for implementation. To learn more, join the ACCP webcast on Thursday, May 30th at 1:00pm ET. Registration can be found here.

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