How to Improve Financial Wellness for Essential Workers

Posted - June 29, 2020

It’s no secret that the term “essential worker” has changed a lot since last year. What was once a term mainly used to describe those in public service (e.g. police officers, firefighters, etc.) has now broadened to include a variety of service professions. While our dependence on these employees has increased, their salaries haven’t necessarily kept up.

Let’s take a look at how we define essential workers today, evaluate some essential worker financial statistics and discuss how pay access can help employers improve financial wellness for their essential employees.

Defining ‘Essential Workers’

First, what defines an “essential worker” today? In a post-COVID-19 world, essential workers are employees of any business deemed “essential.” According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, “the industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works.” This means everyone from grocery store employees and food delivery drivers to hospital workers and waste disposal technicians are considered essential today.

Essential Worker Statistics

If these employees are so essential, why would they be struggling with finances? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, essential employees earn 18.2% less than employees in other industries, on average. When the salary is lower and the demand is higher, it puts a strain in every area for the essential worker (including finances). Here are some other interesting statistics about essential worker finances, according to the government:

  • The state with the lowest salary difference between essential workers and other employees is Nevada at 7.8% 
  • Cashiers make the least among essential workers, at an average of $24,000 per year
  • Postal service employees make the most among essential workers ($51,000 average)
  • The lowest-paying states for essential workers are Connecticut, D.C., Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia and Rhode Island

Improve Essential Work Financial Wellness

As you can see, essential workers may be employed, but that doesn’t mean they’re thriving. The good news is that there are ways you can ease their financial burdens. One of those ways is pay access. With a pay access solution like Spentra, these essential workers can access up to half of their earned net wages before payday, letting them address unexpected situations like medical bills or automobile repairs. By giving them a better ability to budget and prepare for unexpected expenses, they’ll have more financial peace of mind and be able to focus on their essential services instead.

If you’re interested in learning how Spentra can help improve financial wellness for your essential employees, contact us today.