Mark R. Kramer, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a cofounder and a managing director of FSG, a global social-impact consulting firm, recently published a piece on the Harvard Business Review website called The 10 Commitments Companies Must Make to Advance Racial Justice . The article, which first appeared at the top of the HBR website home page, names PayActiv as the benefit businesses should use “that enables employees to access money they have earned before payday.”
Kramer mentions the often used statistic of 40% of Americans who lacked the savings to cover a $400 emergency expense  before COVID-19. He goes on to write, “Their only recourse is to turn to extortionist payday lenders or to run up high-interest, credit-card debt.” However, the rate of newly issued credit cards plunged nearly 75%  in April as banks looked to reduce their risk, forcing lower wage workers toward the last resort of payday lenders. Prior to the pandemic, 78% of workers in the US  — disproportionately people of color — were already living paycheck to paycheck. With jobs eliminated or hours reduced, too many workers are being left with no choice but to turn to alternative financial products to prop themselves up until full-time work becomes available again.
For the 2.5 million people who did return to work in May, the Washington Post  summed up their experience: “Fewer hours, less pay, and more anxiety greet returning workers.” This is where business leaders who claim to be driven by a social purpose and set of core values  can show their employees that their company walks its talk. Timing of pay matters, particularly to hourly workers .
Businesses offering PayActiv’s Earned Wage Access (EWA) benefit are actually offering dignity to their workforce. The benefit makes it possible for workers to access a portion of their wages after their very first shift back on the job. Without an EWA benefit, most returning employees will have to endure another two to three weeks of financial insecurity before receiving their first paycheck, further exacerbating their financial stress. Conversely, companies offering the PayActiv benefit recognize what Mr. Kramer noted, that access to a few hundred dollars in an emergency can be life-changing.
PayActiv is honored to be spotlighted by Mr. Kramer as a resource employers can provide that will bring security, dignity, and savings to their workers. With Earned Wage Access, the most basic human needs missing from the lives of too many workers stand a far better chance of being fulfilled.
We thank HBR for highlighting our mission to level the playing field for the millions of lower-income hourly workers being exploited and monetized between paychecks.
 The 10 Commitments Companies Must Make to Advance Racial Justice https://hbr.org/2020/06/the-10-commitments-companies-must-make-to-advance-racial-justice?ab=hero-main-text
 Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018 – May 2019 https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/2019-economic-well-being-of-us-households-in-2018-dealing-with-unexpected-expenses.htm
 Living Paycheck to Paycheck is a Way of Life for Majority of U.S. Workers, According to New CareerBuilder Survey
 Number of Newly Opened Credit Cards Fell Nearly 75% in April https://www.comparecards.com/blog/number-of-newly-opened-credit-cards-fell-nearly-75-in-april/
 ‘I don’t know if that counts as a job’: Fewer hours, less pay and more anxiety greet returning workers https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/06/workers-pay-cuts-coronavirus/
 Coronavirus Is Putting Corporate Social Responsibility to the Test https://hbr.org/2020/04/coronavirus-is-putting-corporate-social-responsibility-to-the-test
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