Continuum adds Branch instant payment app


The customer service provider has partnered with instant payment company Branch to provide employees with financial education and more frequent access to their payroll.

(Photo by Jason McCawley / Getty Images)

When Elaine Davis took on the role of Director of Human Resources at Continuum Global Solutions last year, she immediately recognized the financial stress many of the customer service provider’s employees were under.

Most of the company’s employees are women and have high childcare costs. Plus, she learned, some employees didn’t have savings or checking accounts and didn’t know the basics of banking or how to deposit a paycheck.

And the pandemic – which has forced employees to work from home while struggling to afford things like reliable internet access or childcare to do their jobs properly – has made those financial strains even higher. .

Elaine davis

“[A lot of workers] are strapped for cash, ”Davis says. “And on a bi-weekly pay schedule, our [employees] spent a lot of time between paychecks.

In response, Continuum in July rolled out Access to Branch, an instant payment and financial wellness company that works with employers, to its entire US population of approximately 7,000 employees. With Branch, Continuum employees can access their payroll before payday – they can use the app to receive a portion of their earned pay right after each shift. Branch also aims to help employees eliminate fees and better meet their personal financial needs by providing a free checking account, debit card and automatic budgeting tool.

“It puts money in my people’s hands when they want it,” Davis says. “It struck a great balance for me, giving people control over the money when they needed or wanted it without creating undue burden on me or the business from a processing or flow perspective. cash. “

More important than more regular access to compensation is the financial education part, says Davis, which aims to help employees learn to budget and better understand their money. One of the goals of the benefit is to help workers acquire financial literacy and become self-reliant, she says.

Atif Siddiqi

“Even before the pandemic, the vast majority of workers lived paycheck to paycheck; people had little or nothing to spare, ”said branch CEO Atif Siddiqi. “After the pandemic, workers face even more challenges in establishing financial stability; maybe they’ve seen their hours go down, maybe a household’s income has gone down – just more economic uncertainty in their lives. “

Eighty percent of hourly workers saved less than $ 500 in an emergency, according to a survey conducted by Branch of 3,000 hourly workers. In addition, the percentage of hourly workers who saved $ 0 increased 12% from last year to 52%.

Related: EDHFigure of the day: lack of employee savings

Siddiqi notes that employers have “a social responsibility to really help employees during this time.”

Employee reaction to Continuum’s new benefit has been “fantastic,” says Davis. “They love it. They appreciate it. We didn’t want people to become dependent on the daily wage. But what we are seeing is people are using it when needed. They are not abusing it.

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To reduce constant usage, says Davis, she offers regular communications about daily compensation and encourages employees to take advantage of financial education.

The financial well-being and betterment of employees is a priority for Continuum, says Davis. She says the company is working to put itself in a position to pay higher wages, more incentives and more bonuses.

“We want to share the wealth when we get that wealth,” she says. “In the meantime, being able to give people access to the money they earned earlier and give them access to education and financial tools is a big step for me. I think it will improve us as an employer, I think it will help us recruit people and I think it will help us keep people.

Kathryn Mayer is EDHBenefits Editor and Chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered performances for nearly a decade, and her stories have won numerous awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and accolades from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds a BA and MA from the University of Denver. She can be reached at [email protected]

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