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Why It Is Critical To Care About Your Employee's Financial Wellness: How embracing an instant pay model can create long-term benefits for workers in the service industry

Mark Heymann

Jan 6, 2022

As every hospitality leader tries to address declining employee satisfaction, one simple way to think about the problem is to spend two weeks in their shoes. Why two weeks? Because that’s typically the time frame that an employee is waiting for another paycheck to arrive, and those 14 days can feel like an eternity. According to research from, 125 million adults in the U.S. are living paycheck to paycheck. For hotels and all service-related businesses, what needs to change is clear: It’s time to eliminate that waiting period.

At Unifocus, we teamed up with Rain to give all our partners who use our Labor Management or Time & Attendance features the opportunity to integrate Instant Pay and Early Wage Access. Workers can see their earnings in real-time based on time and attendance data, and they can get up to 50 percent of their earnings before their scheduled payday. So, suppose a member of your banquet team is trying to balance their bills. In that case, rent payment is due next week, and an unexpected car repair must be paid tomorrow, for example — Instant Pay can play a role in making those immediate costs feel less overwhelming. By giving your employees the ability to use their funds earlier, you can help them avoid the stress of looking at an empty checking account. More importantly, you can help them steer clear of costly solutions to those small account balances like payday loan services that prey on distressed workers with excessively high fees.

Consider some of the other successful companies that have broken up with the traditional payroll system: Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Grubhub all offer the ability to cash out money on the same day it’s earned. A recent survey from the American Payroll Association shows that 25 percent of workers want on-demand access to their wages. As inflation eats away at earnings, that number is only poised to rise in 2022.

It’s Time to Transform Tipping

Another piece of the pay puzzle also needs to be reevaluated: Tipping. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of contactless and cashless transactions. While that is great news for businesses — frictionless payments can fuel higher spending — it spells trouble for those in the service industry, which have historically relied on a few extra dollar bills for their hard work. Bellmen, pool attendants, housekeeping staff and valets — those employees who have regularly benefited from happy guests’ tips aren’t taking as many dollars home. In fact, a survey conducted by One Fair Wage revealed that 83 percent of hospitality workers feel their tips have declined during the pandemic, and for some, that decrease has been huge: 66 percent said their tips had fallen by at least 50 percent.

Companies have emerged to solve the challenge and help fuel easy digital tipping in transactions that would have typically only been possible if a customer had cash in his or her wallet. Instead of guests patting their empty pockets, a simple QR code scan can enable the simple act of tipping and help a few bucks add up to a bigger prize for the hospitality industry’s hard-working employees.

Caring About Your Employees’ Financial Wellness Translates to Your Bottom Line, Too

Offering Instant Pay does more than respond to what employees want, though. It also pays dividends for the employer. Consider these findings from employees who have been able to use Rain.

  • Happier employees: Nearly 90 percent said they were more satisfied at work after beginning to use the service.

  • Less stressed: More than 78 percent said they were less stressed, which helped fuel more productivity.

  • Brand advocates: More than 77 percent said that Instant Pay benefits made them more likely to refer friends to the job — helping alleviate the pressure of hiring teams to post jobs and find more candidates for open positions.

  • More present: More than 68 percent indicated that they had been accepting more open shifts and arriving on time at a higher rate after being able to use Instant Pay.

All those data points add up to one crucial fact: Instant Pay also delivers enduring benefits for employers.

As the industry continues to struggle with labor shortages, helping your employees access funds quicker might be the defining factor in their decision to stay or join your team. It is time to put two-week pay cycles in the past and embrace the instant pay model.

Still aren’t sure that it’s time for a change in the industry? Consider this telling statistic: >50 percent of hospitality workers are not going back to their old jobs. Look at that exodus as an opportunity to innovate and differentiate a job offer from your competitors.

Originally Published in Hospitality Net

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