The Impact of Employee Financial Stress on Workplace Performance: Strategies for Early Detection and Support


Employee financial stress is a growing concern for Australian businesses, with many employees finding it difficult to manage their finances and make ends meet. As a result, HR leaders and CEO’s are increasingly seeking effective strategies to support their employees and create a more financially resilient workforce. By understanding the impact of financial stress on workplace performance and utilising research and statistics, we can develop tailored solutions to improve financial wellness and workplace satisfaction.

The Australian Impact of Employee Financial Stress:

In Australia, financial stress can have a significant impact on employee performance and overall wellbeing. A 2022 report by ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods revealed that 33% of Australians live in households that are experiencing financial stress, with an additional 6.7 million struggling to save for emergencies or long-term goals. This financial stress can translate into decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and reduced job satisfaction.

Early Detection and Support for Financially Stressed Employees in Australia:

To create a more financially resilient workforce, HR teams and financial controllers can implement the following strategies for early detection and support:

  1. Monitor absenteeism and presenteeism: Financial stress can lead to decreased employee engagement, increased absenteeism, and presenteeism, where employees attend work but are not fully productive due to their financial worries. Presenteeism costs Australian businesses $34 billion annually and can be exacerbated by financial stress. By tracking patterns in absenteeism and presenteeism, HR professionals can identify employees who may be struggling and offer support before the situation escalates.
  2. Implement financial wellness programs: Financial wellness programs can help employees develop the skills and knowledge needed to manage their finances more effectively. A 2022 report by TIAA found that employees who participated in a financial wellness program felt more positive about their financial situation and are more engaged at work. By offering resources like budgeting workshops, financial coaching, and counseling services, employers can help employees improve their financial literacy and make more informed decisions about their finances.
  3. Encourage open communication: Creating a supportive work environment that encourages open communication about financial stress can help employees feel more comfortable discussing their concerns with their managers or HR professionals. According to a 2018 survey by the Australian HR Institute, employees who felt supported by their employer during a period of financial stress reported higher levels of engagement and loyalty. By fostering open communication, employers can create a more supportive work environment and address employee financial stress before it becomes a more significant issue.
  4. Consider Earned Wage Access (EWA) solutions: Earned Wage Access (EWA), also known as On-Demand Pay, enables employees to access a portion of their earned wages before their traditional payday. This financial flexibility serves as a valuable safety net, especially during challenging economic times.


Among the 1.8 million Australians currently grappling with missed credit card payments due to the escalating cost-of-living crisis, the threat of financial stress looms large. By offering early access to wages, employers can support their staff in avoiding high-interest payday loans and minimising debt accrual from unexpected expenses.

Furthermore, EWA comes equipped with additional financial wellbeing features such a budgeting and forecasting tools, access to financial councilors and many more tools, designed to help employees optimally manage their funds, thereby fostering a more resilient and financially secure workforce.


By understanding the impact of employee financial stress on the Australian workforce and implementing strategies for early detection and support, organisations can create a more financially resilient, productive, and satisfied workforce. Through early intervention, financial wellness programs, open communication, and innovative solutions like Earned Wage Access, employers can make a tangible difference in the lives of their employees and help them navigate the challenges of financial stress.

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