Holland & Barrett gives 5,000 staff real-time access to earned pay with Wagestream

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Wagestream has partnered with one of Europe’s leading health and wellness retailers, Holland & Barrett, which has launched its Earned Wage Access (EWA) service to give colleagues access to their earned wages whenever they need them.

The company is offering the service to its 5,000 UK colleagues to help bolster their financial resilience and overall wellbeing — and it couldn’t have come at a more crucial time.

The Wagestream platform will give the firm’s colleagues instant access to a percentage of their earned pay any day of the month.  Colleagues will also have access to a range of financial education tools provided by the app.

Earned Wage Access reduces the financial anxiety and stress associated with unexpected expenses, a situation that can be exacerbated by the monthly pay cycle. By giving workers access to money they have already earned, they are less likely to need to rely on expensive forms of credit and fall into debt.

Every time a colleague ‘streams’ some of their earned pay into their bank account, they pay a simple flat fee of £1.75. There are no loans involved and therefore no interest.

A key advantage for employers is that the facility doesn’t impact the cash flow of the business — so wages are paid by the employer as normal at the end of the month. For those firms who offer shift work, another immediate benefit is that it becomes easier to fill rotas, because instant access to their pay restores the direct connection between work and reward. In fact, Wagestream data shows that workers enrolled in the service choose to work 22% more hours on average.

Wagestream works with businesses in all sectors and has been responding to the Covid-19 outbreak by making its income streaming service free to the NHS and its staff. It has also introduced a fast-track on-boarding process for new clients, which means any employer can launch the service for its staff in seven days, as opposed to three weeks.

Wagestream also produces webinars for users that teach employees how to look after their money and has built an online resource hub that identifies what information and entitlements are relevant to them.

Tricia Foster, head of pay and benefits at Holland & Barrett, said: “At Holland & Barrett, we believe in the importance of making wellness accessible to all, and this includes focusing on the impact of financial stability on our colleagues’ mental health.

“Earned Wage Access is relatively new and hugely exciting for us and all our colleagues. It was easy to implement and gives our colleagues so much more protection from the financial pain of meeting unexpected expenses.

“We hope that Wagestream will give our colleagues that additional support net that is so necessary during a challenging time for all, as well as drive recruitment across the business by showcasing our flexibility and support as a wellness employer.”

Peter Briffett, CEO and co-founder of Wagestream, commented: “Access to accrued pay on demand is a basic employee benefit that all employers can offer without hurting the cash flow of the business, and we’re delighted to welcome Holland & Barrett.

“Earned Wage Access is set to be one of the most important innovations in the world of work in this decade. It unlocks financial freedoms for all staff.

“It’s vital we move the workforce away from a situation where they are dependent on payday loans and expensive short-term credit, a reliance that is exacerbated by the monthly pay cycle.”