Employees Seek Help with Debt and Credit Problems
Morneau Shepell Report Shows People Accessing for Support on Debt/Credit Due to Economy
TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2011 /CNW/ - Almost two out of every three times that people accessed their employer's EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for financial assistance last year, it was for personal debt and/or credit. The Morneau Shepell Research Group has just released a report showing how EAP access in Canada changed from 2010 as compared to 2009, and the results might be a barometer of the country's economic health.
"In 2010 EAP access for debt and credit counselling definitely went up," said Karen Seward, Executive Vice-President, Business Development and Marketing, Morneau Shepell. "This indicates that the fallout of the financial crisis was continuing as employees tried to work their way out of debt. And now that the credit rating of the U.S. has been downgraded to an historic low and the global economy spirals downward, we expect this to continue.
"We also had a significant decrease in EAP access for things like investment planning, real estate, mortgages and taxes. This shows that attention to investments was obviously not a priority last year."
The report, called Impact of the Financial Crisis on EAP Usage from 2009-2010, showed that 63.2 per cent of all financial-related accesses last year - almost two out of three - were for debt/credit issues. That was followed by divorce/finances at 8.7 per cent, bankruptcy at 7.4 per cent, retirement at 5.7 per cent, and taxes at 4.6 per cent. At the same time, EAP access for investment planning dropped significantly from 2009. The report showed a:
- 80.7 per cent decrease in cases involving investment planning
- 44.4 per cent decrease in issues involving real estate and mortgages
- 28.6 per cent decrease for tax issues.
Proportionally, all financial EAP accesses decreased in 2010 except for debt/credit-related issues. The types of support being accessed included counselling for debt/credit, bankruptcy, and other financial problems. Specialized financial counselling and consultation for retirement, job loss, divorce, estate planning, and investment planning was also accessed.
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Said Seward: "Our findings indicate that accesses for financial counselling and consultation are showing a decreasing trend. The leading financial issues for which employees contacted their EAP have changed somewhat over the past two years with approximately 50 per cent of accesses concerning debt/credit issues in 2009 increasing to well over 60 per cent in 2010. As for investment planning, there was a significant decrease in accesses from approximately 20 per cent in 2009 to only 4 per cent in 2010."
Seward said that, in light of the current economy, she expects EAP access for such financial matters as investment planning, real estate and mortgages, and tax issues to continue to decrease throughout this year. However, people need to be focused on planning and investment to ensure a better future.
Morneau Shepell is the largest Canadian-based firm offering industry leading benefits and pension consulting, outsourcing, as well as health and productivity solutions. The company works with clients to develop innovative solutions that integrate with their business strategies to achieve results. Through Benefits and Health Solutions Consulting, Pension Consulting, Health Management, Administration Solutions and Shepell-fgi's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Organizational Solutions and Training, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive positions by supporting their employees' financial security, health and well-being.
Established in 1962, Morneau Shepell has grown to serve over 13,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, it has offices in the United States and over 95 locations across Canada. Morneau Shepell Inc. is a publicly traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). For more information, visit www.morneaushepell.com.
Shepell-fgi is Canada's leading provider of workplace health and productivity solutions, including prevention-focused Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), Organizational Solutions and Training. The company serves over ten million employees and their families across Canada, the United States and internationally. Shepell-fgi helps organizations maintain healthy employees and healthy workplaces. Visit www.shepellfgi.com.