Dear Employer: A Letter From the American Worker

Letter from an employee

Dear Employer:

Financial stress hits me hard, and it’s time you knew.

I call in sick to manage my financial breakdowns.

I visit my doctor and swallow pills to suppress my financial stress.

I come to work, but I’m not really there. I’m distracted by—plagued by—anxiety. I’m too worried about my bottom line to care about yours. I want to worry about your success—our success—but I can’t stop thinking about my bills, how to pay them, and how to support my family.

I want to work for you—with you—but I’m looking for a second job. I have to stop the nauseating spin of my financial struggle. I know you’re paying me the most you can, but last year my child had a medical emergency that I had to pay for out of pocket, and that meant my bills went unpaid. Late fees, overdraft fees, and reconnection fees continue to eat up my earnings, and for the past several months, I’ve found myself in a constant state of panic.

My panic consumes me, and it impacts you. Your business will be 12 percent less productive because my financial stress devours my energy and leaves me exhausted and impatient. There are others like me. In fact, your turnover rate is so high because so many like me are suffering from financial stress. Last week, I was the one in five of us who called in sick to petition my landlord and scramble to keep on my lights. Yesterday, I was the one in five of us who missed work because my car broke down and I didn’t have a credit card to call an Uber. Last month, I was the one in five who missed work because my kid got sick and I didn’t have access to cash for childcare.

My anxiety and panic are worse when payday approaches because every dollar of my check is already accounted for. There are no black numbers in sight; all I see is red. I miss work, I lose pay, and I sink deeper into the mud. Others are stuck in the mud with me, and it’s hard for us to breathe—to survive. Annually, we pay the following:

  • $25 billion in overdraft fees
  • $10 billion in late fees and reconnect charges
  • $8 billion in payday loan fees

Some of us pay part of the $25 billion in interest that credit card companies collect every year. Honestly, I wish I was one of them. Having a credit card would bury me in debt, but it’d help me put food on the table and get to work.

I read online that 75 to 80 percent of workers in the US live paycheck to paycheck. I am one of them. My financial stress, even though I attempt to keep it out of the office, deftly beheads your attempts to boost my morale, get me to follow effective processes, and serve your customers with patience and kindness. My financial stress trumps your business prowess. It wins, hands down, every time and I’m sick of it. I want ­us to win—you and I—in your business, in my job, and in our lives. I know you want that.

I want security. I want dignity. I want to pay my bills on time. I want to stop turning over 10 percent of my income to the Fin-Tax man, and I want to put some of that money into savings. I want to rest and catch my breath, for just a moment, knowing that I can pay for the unexpected medical bill or car repair without sending my family into a tailspin. I want to feel like I’ve earned something positive—something powerful and wonderful—with my labor. I want control over my future success and to contribute to your future success. I want for us to play full out and to win—together. I’m willing to do my part, and I also need your help. I need access to the wages I’ve earned between paychecks so I can avoid additional fees. Will you help me?

PayActiv is a holistic financial wellness benefit that provides earned wage access (EWA) to one million workers every month. The PayActiv membership model comes at no cost to employers and a minor cost to workers. With a membership ($5 per two-week period, and only when they use it), users can make unlimited draws on up to 50 percent of their earned wages; utilize the PayActiv bill pay service and automatic savings features; access financial counseling and resources; and order an Uber or purchase products through Amazon—all using their already earned but yet unpaid wages. Over one thousand companies across twenty thousand locations currently offer their employees the PayActiv benefit, which has moved more than $2.5 billion in 2019 and saved users an estimated $240 million in late fees and interest.

Holistic Financial Wellness

Learn how PayActiv measurably reduces employee financial stress and employee turnover.

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Access is more than a paycheck.
It's peace of mind.

Access is more than a paycheck. It's peace of mind.

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