Amid rising inflation, airport hospitality services provider OTG Management is supporting employees’ financial wellness through an earned-wage access card.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) of the organization’s Canadian employees have accessed the benefit, which allows employees to access their pay and manage their finances whenever and however they prefer, says Alan House, OTG’s executive vice-president and chief human resources officer.

When employees work a shift, they can access the app and request the money deposited onto their pay card as soon as they clock out, he says, noting workers can transfer the funds to their bank account or even pay bills directly from the card.

Read: Survey finds Canadians’ financial well-being continues to decline amid rising inflation

“It’s a seamless process, so when a request is made by crew members, the . . . system automatically calculates all their taxes and it determines how much funds are available to them based on their tax deductions or garnishment. We want people to be good stewards with their money . . . so we set the system up so that they can only take 50 per cent of what they’ve earned.”

The benefit is especially helpful for employees who don’t have bank accounts and can use the card as a rainy-day fund, providing a cushion between pay periods. “If someone gets a flat tire, it’s an unplanned $200 to $300 charge that can land right in between pay periods. We offer this benefit for exactly those reasons.”

As well, if employees who still receive paper paycheques lose them, they can have the funds sent directly to the card instead. Some employees with children attending college or university give their kids the card and deposit $200 to $300 every two weeks for food or other expenses, says House, adding he uses his card as a Christmas fund, putting a little bit of money on it each pay period.

Read: Head to head: Should Canadian policy-makers facilitate a workplace emergency savings benefit?

The benefit has also helped with OTG’s attraction and retention efforts, helping to differentiate the company from competitors, he adds. “We’re getting closer to being fully staffed across all of our locations, [which] is a big win based on the market brand. The hiring market is very tight and there aren’t a lot of people to go around to fill the jobs available. But we’re blessed to be almost fully filled from a staffing perspective and the [earned-wage access card] is a part of that process and success. It’s an upsell point for us.”

House believes there will eventually be a broader adoption of earned-wage access cards by other employers. “With technology, things can happen at a much quicker pace. It would make sense for the whole payroll industry to convert to this type of system, where it’s more instantaneous in terms of pay delivery, rather than waiting two weeks or a week, . . . which meant employees had to really balance their finances to make it to the next pay period. I could see the industry swinging the other way.”

Read: How employers can tweak benefits offerings amid rising inflation