Retail tech provider Fourth has partnered with earned-wage specialist Wagestream to help reduce retail workers’ financial stress by offering employees access to their monthly earned wages.

This offer will be available to any employee of a retailer using Fourth’s workforce management solutions and means that employees will not have “work paycheck to paycheck”.

The app, created by Wagestream, gives employees a set of financial tools that will allow them to track, access, save, and manager their wages throughout the month. It also includes an Earned Wage Access (EWA) feature, which “reduced reliance on predatory forms of credit and boosts financial resilience”.

Fourth and Wagestream have been in partnership since 2018, working together to “reduce financial stress for thousands of hospitality workers”. Fourth has stated that 60% of its hospitality clients usually sign up to using Wagestream.

Fourth provides end-to-end technology and services for the retail industry as well as the restaurant and hospitality industries. It serves more than 7,000 customers across 120,000 locations globally.

Wagestream is a charity-backed financial wellbeing platform and is designed to reduce financial stress, resulting in improved work quality and benefiting both employee and employer.

Response from the companies

Fourth managing director EMEA Sebastien Sepierre said: “A huge proportion of the UK retail workforce has dealt with furloughing or redundancy during the pandemic, which creates massive amounts of in-work financial stress for employees and their employers alike.

“It’s more important than ever that retail businesses keep their people happy and engaged as they move into this recovery period, and we look forward to helping them reduce their employees’ financial stress.

“Wagestream is the only financial wellbeing platform backed by charities, proven by data, and built around the employer, and we are delighted to bring our retail clients the same benefits we’ve seen it create for our hospitality client base.”

Wagestream CEO Peter Briffett said: “In-work financial stress is an invisible, urgent problem that is compounded by the outdated way most of us access, save, and manage our wages today.

“It impacts the majority of retail workers, as well as their employers – and the data now shows that giving people greater power over their pay, as part of a well-managed financial wellbeing programme, is the solution.

“We look forward to building on our presence in the retail sector and helping more people build up their financial resilience, through our partnership with Fourth.”

“These next few months will be pivotal for the industry”

Sepierre told Retail Insight Network that it’s important for retail employees to have access to their own earnings, especially with the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic meaning that many have been struggling with financial stress and instability.

Sepierre said: “With the retail industry reopening after a year of frustration and financial uncertainty, we’re extremely excited to be able to offer Wagestream’s advanced payment options to our retail clients going forward.

“These next few months will be pivotal for the industry as well as its workers. Retail employees have battled with the complete shutdown of their businesses and their primary sources of income.

“This follows the latest statistics revealing that nearly 11 million people have borrowed money to make ends meet since the beginning of the pandemic, highlighting the desperate need for employees to have greater control over their wages and salary going forward.

“Recent positive changes have been made to the National Living Wage in the UK and enabling access to earned wages in the retail sector should be a priority for employers going forward.

“Here at Fourth, we’re determined to ensure that our clients’ employees come back to work post-pandemic with financial assurances that mean they’re not working paycheck to paycheck but can instead access their earned wages instantly.”

“Combining Wagestreams innovative tech with Fourth’s already comprehensive end-to-end retail software is just the latest step towards guaranteeing a fairer and more rewarding experience for retail employees and employers.”