Project Overview

The Employee Financial Wellness Programs (EFWP) Project uses insights from employers and employees to generate evidence about EFWPs and to assess the potential of these programs to increase financial stability among American workers. For the purposes of this project, the research team defines an EFWP as a program that is designed to improve employees’ financial security and that is independent of retirement and insurance benefits.

EFWPs In Detail

In recent years, the number of employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs) has increased significantly, yet they operate at a small scale and evidence concerning their efficacy is limited. Efforts are underway to develop new, scalable models that may reach and serve economically vulnerable populations. EFWPs have the potential to reach low- to moderate-income households at a much larger scale than community-based programs, potentially in a financially sustainable manner. Also, EFWPs are promising because of an existing stable infrastructure for delivery.

Yet this new and emerging field lacks a standard definition of EFWPs, and EFWPs vary greatly in what they offer. Little is known about:

  • The range of types of EFWPs offered in the workplace;
  • Attractive product and service design features;
  • The likelihood of and barriers to uptake among LMI workers;
  • The value of these programs from the perspectives of both employers and employees, and;
  • The factors that may affect an employer’s decision to offer an EFWP.​

By better understanding the features, attractiveness, demand, and perceived benefits of EFWPs, well-designed programs with the potential for large-scale implementation can be developed and rigorously evaluated.

The Workforce Financial Stability Initiative collaborates with employers throughout the country that offer EFWPs to better understand their motivations for and experiences with offering EFWPs to employees.

In addition, the Workforce Financial Stability Initiative has conducted a survey of lower-wage workers by adding an EFWP module to the Household Financial Survey of the Refund to Savings initiative.