FIAP Geelong Pioneers working together to reduce financial stress in workplaces

FIAP Geelong Pioneers working together to reduce financial stress in workplaces

Financial stress is reflected across the country where one in five Australian employees say they’re experiencing financial stress. For example, the 2016 Census reported just over 10% of Geelong household experience rental stress. In some parts of Geelong, this stress level is 61% higher than the Victorian average.

Each year financial stress costs Australian employers $31.1 billion. Stress results in lower productivity and absenteeism among employees. In Victoria, financial stress has impacted about 20% of employees (Source: Financial Wellness in the Australian Workplace, AMP 2018).

“We are living pay cheque to pay cheque. It is stressful, in the last 15-20 years I don’t know what not being stressed is like when it comes to money”, Geelong Employee

This is why financial wellbeing in the workplace is one of the priority focus areas identified by eight Geelong-based organisations. The Geelong group, which refers to themselves as the Geelong Pioneers, is part of the first regional place-based Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP). They are collectively taking actions to improve financial wellbeing outcomes of Geelong residents.

The group has designed more than 28 actions the Geelong FIAP, to focus on the financial wellbeing of employees in workplace. This includes creating financial capability development programs, information sessions and the provision of follow up support with particular focus on women and ageing workforce.

The initiative was funded in early 2018 by Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to address the need for a collective- and place-based approach with local organisations from multiple sectors. The Geelong Pioneers currently consists of Barwon Water, WorkSafe, Deakin University, Bethany, First State Super, Give Where You Live, the City of Greater Geelong, and Good Shepherd Microfinance’s Good Money store in Geelong.

The group’s vision is for Geelong “to be the most financial resilience and inclusive city in the country”. The vision guides the actions undertaken by the FIAP members to eradicate poverty, address financial vulnerability and deliver better financial wellbeing outcomes for individuals and families in Geelong. The project provides a framework for the Geelong Pioneers to share their learning, network and leverage resources to identify broad opportunities to ‘shift the dial’ on financial inclusion and resilience in the workplace. Additional funding was received from the Federal government and the FIAP action plan is expected to be launched in February 2020.

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Photo by Jiapeng Guang on Unsplash

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