Sage, the market leader in cloud business management solutions, has launched a new Earned Wage Access service to support its payroll customers to improve employee wellbeing.
Sage will work with earnings on demand company, FlexEarn to deliver the new Earned Wage Access scheme via Sage Payroll software and a downloadable app from the Sage Business Cloud Marketplace. The app enables employees to withdraw a portion of their salary in advance of their regular salary payment date, helping them budget more easily and with less stress.
Debt charity StepChange recently revealed that more than 14 million people in the UK had suffered a hit to their income impacting their ability to pay for essential costs since March 2020, as a result of the pandemic. 11 million of those affected said they were still struggling to meet those costs. The research highlights how the pandemic has exhausted coping strategies and eroded financial resilience, increasing people’s likelihood of falling into problem debt.
Sage launched its ambitious sustainability and society strategy, Knocking Down Barriers in June, and its partnership with FlexEarn reflects a key part of Sage’s ambition to tackle economic inequality and support those hardest hit by the pandemic.
Mai-Po Wan, Product Director for Sage HR and Payroll, Sage Group, said: “Our research shows that SMBs are keen to play a proactive role in supporting colleague health and wellbeing. Meanwhile all evidence suggests that short term, high interest loans can place undue stress on the people who use them, impacting their financial wellbeing and wellbeing more generally. We are committed to using our technology, time and experience to tackle inequalities and access to affordable salary advances is one way to do that.”
FlexEarn works with Sage 50cloud Payroll software without any changes to an employer’s payroll process, and at no cost to employers. Employees pay a low flat fee per withdrawal (typically £1.50), although some employers may choose to fund this themselves).
Three quarters (77%) of employees say that money worries impact them at work and employers report losing 2.5 days per employee per year through financial stress-related absences.
Sage payroll software is trusted by more than 40% of UK private sector businesses, paying over 25% of UK employees.
Jonathan David, the founder and CEO of FlexEarn, said: “A financial health crisis is afflicting the UK workforce. Earned Wage Access schemes can provide people with earlier access to their earnings and help them beat the cycle of debt, by preventing the need for costly alternatives such as high-cost credit payday loan options. FlexEarn can help them avoid accruing debt by allowing workers to smooth access to their earnings at more frequent intervals. We are now positioned to implement our leading financial wellbeing solutions across the UK, providing employees with access to the most comprehensive set of tools and resources to help avoid financial stress. Given it’s free to employers and that it takes very little time and effort to set-up FlexEarn — we offer a bespoke service and work with companies through the setup, while helping them make other payroll process efficiencies as we go — it should be in employers’ interests, too.
Sage is the global market leader for technology that provides small and medium businesses with the visibility, flexibility and efficiency to manage finances, operations and people. With our partners, Sage is trusted by millions of customers worldwide to deliver the best cloud technology and support. Our years of experience mean that our colleagues and partners understand how to serve our customers and communities through the good, and more challenging times. We are here to help, with practical advice, solutions, expertise and insight.
FlexEarn is a salary advance app - a platform that lets employees withdraw a portion of their salary before their regular salary payment date (and for employers to authorise FlexEarn to pay the requested amount to their employees). It is a safe, secure way for employees to get immediate access to the wages they’ve already earned in the event of an emergency. FlexEarn is the only salary advance provider to work with debt charity StepChange1.
FlexEarn is not a payday loan company: there are no hidden charges, credit checks, or interest.
Unlike some of its peers, FlexEarn does not charge a percentage fee of the amount an employee is advanced - employees pay a flat £1.50 fee per withdrawal (although some employers choose to fund the salary advances themselves) and ‘borrow’ from their own pay packet.
To protect the information the company handles, FlexEarn has implemented an Information Security Management System that is independently certified as compliant with ISO 27001:2017 UKAS.