Holland & Barrett offers staff instant access to earned wages

UK retailer Holland & Barrett has launched a new service for its staff, allowing them access to their earned wage whenever they need it.

In a move that follows similar steps taken by several hospitality companies during the coronavirus pandemic, Holland & Barrett has partnered with tech company Wagestream to support its 'Earned Wage Access' (EWA) service. Workers will now be able to log on to the Wagestream app and draw down their earnings in real time, rather than waiting until the end of the week, fortnight, month, or whatever their traditional pay day is.

The retailer said it is providing the service to its 5,000 UK employees to help bolster their financial resilience and overall wellbeing. Staff will also have access to a range of financial education tools provided by the app.

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

From a business perspective, cashflow is not impacted and wages are paid by the employer as normal at the end of the month.

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

Tricia Foster, head of pay & benefits at Holland & Barrett, said: “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.”

Peter Briffett, CEO and co-founder of Wagestream, added: “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.”

He added: “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.”

Hospitality companies Greene King, Honest Burgers, Fuller’s, and Prezzo are among the organisations to have started working with Wagestream this year.