There have never been numbers cited like this in history: More than 6.6 million unemployment claims in the last week of March 2020 alone. Employers need solutions to help their businesses and workers—and they need them urgently.
Experts working with BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative provided a real-time webinar on March 26. Aimed at employers now dealing with a new set of realities due to COVID-19, the panel discussed ideas and solutions to help employers serve their most financially vulnerable employees.
The panel included Timothy Flacke, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Commonwealth; Mariel Beasley, Principal, Common Cents Lab; and John Thompson, Chief Program Officer of Financial Health Network. The webinar was moderated by Brian Gilmore, Director, Commonwealth.
Key ideas discussed:
- How to help employees best manage their cash assistance windfall, such as the $1,200 government stimulus payment that is part of the CARES Act.
- Methods for boosting savings for employees and making saving as easy as possible.
- How to support the hardest-hit employees by offering hardship funds.
For more details on the ideas discussed, read Commonwealth’s blog or watch the full length webinar below (60 minutes).
Nearly 350 attendees participated in the webinar. More than half of those who completed a webinar survey said they anticipated that the economic slowdown would last 6 months or longer. More than 80% reported that their company would likely shift to reduced hours or experience a layoff. Attendees came from multiple industries, with the majority of coming from the financial service sector.
BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative
BlackRock announced a $50 million commitment to help millions of people living on low- to moderate-incomes gain access to and increase usage of proven savings strategies and tools—ultimately helping them establish an important safety net. The size and scale of the savings problem requires the knowledge and expertise of established industry experts that are recognized leaders in savings research and interventions on an individual and corporate level. Led by their Social Impact team, BlackRock is partnering with innovative industry experts Common Cents Lab, Commonwealth, and the Financial Health Network to give the initiative a comprehensive and multi-layered approach to address the savings crisis. UPS, Uber, Mastercard, Etsy, Brightside, Arizona State University, and Acorns have joined BlackRock’s Emergency Savings Initiative to help their employees, customers, gig workers, and college students take the essential first step towards long-term financial well-being.