Financial stress is preventing employees, employers and the economy from reaching full potential, according to a survey by the Canadian Payroll Association.

The survey found 43 per cent of workers are so financially stressed their performance at work is suffering. It noted the costs of increased absenteeism, turnover and benefits claims, as well as decreased job satisfaction and morale, also need to be taken into account.

“Forty-three per cent of our survey respondents have stated they’re so stressed that their work performance is suffering, and the stress is based on financial stress . . . based on rising costs of living — this could be housing, looming interest rates and the possibility of them increasing,” says Sherisse Mason, treasurer of the board of directors at the Canadian Payroll Association.

Read: Mental and emotional health spilling over to financial stress: study

About a quarter of survey respondents said they’re experiencing this stress, adds Mason. “Canadians spend just under 40 minutes each day distracted by their personal financial matters at work. And then that equates to about $16 billion a year in lost productivity.”

Another piece of research commissioned by the Canadian Payroll Association this year found financial stress is the No.1 source of stress for Canadians from coast to coast.

A third of survey respondents admitted their debt has increased since 2018 and they’re spending more than their net pay. Among nearly one in three workers who claimed credit card debt, 38 per cent said it will take them more than a year to pay it off and five per cent said it will take them a decade or more.

Read: Employers have role in mitigating impact of financial stress: report

The survey also found 78 per cent of respondents would be interested in financial education offered in the workplace, including information on saving for the future and better budgeting. More than a third of employees said they’re participating in a pay-yourself-first program, but only 55 per cent of employers offer such a program.

Masson says employers can help their employees by offering financial literacy education. “The most interesting part of the survey was that 78 per cent of the respondents stated they would be interested in financial education in the workplace and financial literacy. So employers having the ability to offer these programs, or to even offer some sort of pay-yourself-first program, would really help employees learn how to save for their future.”

Read: Canadian xennials worried about retirement savings: survey

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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