For some employees, simply getting to work is half the battle.
That’s because many low-income workers don’t own cars, making it challenging for them to find and keep a job. Or if they own a vehicle, it may be older and subject to breakdown, frequently leaving them stranded for days.
In fact, “transportation presents a difficult and underreported challenge” to these workers, according to Business Insider. One obvious solution is Uber, the ubiquitous ride-hailing service that’s known for the convenience it offers (you can hire an Uber and not have to navigate traffic or find parking) and the increased productivity it can provide (you can use travel time to take phone calls and work on portable devices).
For hourly workers, Uber offers something else—protection. Low-income earners know that if they don’t show up, they don’t get paid. The ability to get a ride on demand can offer critical protection from lost wages and missed job opportunities. Unfortunately, rideshare services can be out of reach for people who don’t have a bank account, debit card, or credit card to pay with.
And many people don’t. According to a 2017 report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), “6.5 percent of households in the United States were unbanked.” That translates to roughly 14.1 million adults in the US living without bank accounts, leaving them unable to set up Uber accounts or pay for rides.
Fortunately, employers who offer PayActiv benefits can help the unbanked and paycheck-to-paycheck workers because PayActiv has partnered with Uber to serve them.
Now, PayActiv users can hail rides through Uber without having a bank account, debit or credit card, or even an Uber account. Having a PayActiv account gives workers unlimited access to all of PayActiv’s services, including Uber rides. Users don’t have to wait until payday to access these services, either. No matter when they need a ride, they can pay for it out of already earned wages.
That’s important because nearly 80 percent of people in the US live paycheck to paycheck, and almost half of workers couldn’t come up with $400 to handle an emergency. That means that workers who lose their cars to breakdown or repossession, can’t afford gas, or have to lend the car to someone else in their one-car household often have to miss work and therefore fall further behind financially. Transportation-related absenteeism helps nobody—employees can lose their jobs, and employers their workers, all because of something as common as a flat tire. By giving workers access to affordable rides when other means of transportation fail them, the PayActiv-Uber partnership protects both employees and employers. And, when helpful to employees, employers have the option to pick up the cost of the rides themselves.
This partnership can also help you draw workers to your company by demonstrating your commitment to offering critical services and resources to employees. PayActiv’s research shows that 70 percent of employees say they’re attracted to companies that care about their well-being. That same number would be willing to leave one job in favor of another that demonstrated that care. Unfortunately, only 32 percent of those workers said that their employers actually offer services to assist them with their personal finances. If you are one of them, you have a recruitment and retention advantage.
There’s more you can do as well. PayActiv’s partnership with Uber marks just one part of PayActiv’s holistic financial wellness platform. Through the PayActiv app, workers can access wages as they earn them; set up automatic bill-pay services; buy goods through Amazon; get discounts on prescriptions; automatically transfer money to savings; access financial counseling; and more.
If you give your workforce the gift of affordable, convenient, and dependable transportation as well as tools for overall financial health, you reduce transportation-related employee absenteeism and demonstrate to workers that you value their professional contribution and care about their financial health and well-being.
 Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, “There’s a Major Hurdle to Employment That Many Americans Don’t Even Think about—and It’s Holding the Economy Back,” Business Insider, January 27, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/lack-of-transport-is-a-major-obstacle-to-employment-for-americas-poor-2018-1.
 Zack Friedman, “78% of Workers Live Paycheck to Paycheck,” Forbes, January 11, 2019, https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/01/11/live-paycheck-to-paycheck-government-shutdown/#645918b04f10.