Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Is it OK to ask HR for financial help?

Comment by Dan Kettle of Octagon Capital

With around 8 million Britons struggling with some kind of debt every year, for some it is a personal matter and for others it is something that they might speak openly about. Whilst we are used to going to HR with our problems, the questions begs: "Is it OK to ask HR for financial help?"

“The answer is yes,’ explains Dan Kettle of Octagon Capital, a specialist finance and bridging loans company

“Companies today should have Employee Assistance Programmes (known as EAP) which are available to help their staff going through financial struggles.’

“EAP might include debt counselling, advice or offering payment structures that are more flexible, such as getting an advance or being paid weekly, rather than monthly.”

Approach the situation delicately 

“There are some larger organisations where you can apply for financial schemes or help with your employer. The likes of Tesco, Sainsburys and other large companies have company schemes or programmes that allow you to get money in advance. It is commonplace and not something considered to be taboo.”

“But if you are in a small company with just a handful of people, this subject needs to be approached more delicately.”

“Explaining the reasons why you are struggling financially might be key here. Is it school fees, an illness in the family, a disaster to your home or marriage, these are things that HR managers can relate to. Overspending due to shopping, holidays or addiction are tricky ones,” Kettle continues.

“But arranging a confidential and personal meeting with an HR manager is a delicate and good way to approach it. Even outlining the amount you need to borrow or what support you need is important.” 

Be prepared to negotiate 

“A lot of HR managers understand that stress can impact your productivity and job satisfaction. So if keeping you employed and happy is vital to their business, assisting you with your financial troubles is something that they should consider. Arguably, you could highlight your impact to the business and why you are important - and if you haven’t had a raise in a long time, why you deserve one.”

“In fact today, a lot of companies have salary finance schemes which are helping staff to draw down money as they earn it, rather than having to wait until their next pay date. So if you have worked for 10 days in the month, you can draw down 10 days worth of your salary - and the fees are incurred by the employer, not by you.”