Almost 8 in 10 UK employees take their money worries to work, affecting their performance. Fortunately, there are many ways to champion financial wellbeing in the workplace.
Money worries affect our mental and physical health, which is why the Council as part of the Four Pillars of Wellbeing toolkit have brought together details of some supports available for staff experiencing money issues or those who wish to have better control over their finances for the future.
Cost of Living Support
Feeling the Pinch Fund is now open to West Lothian residents living with a low income. This fund can provide a one-off grant of up to £300 to help toward unexpected costs or essential items if you cannot access financial support with these costs elsewhere. Applications for the fund can be made online here: Feeling the Pinch Fund
The West Lothian Fuel Grant is a one-off grant of £100 to help with gas and electricity costs. The fund is open to anyone with a low income who is experiencing fuel poverty or at risk of disconnection from supply due to inability to top up pre-payment meters.
A second fuel grant of up to £150 can also be paid to anyone applying for the West Lothian Fuel Grant who has a disability or health condition that causes increased energy costs. This could be due to having mains powered equipment, or a health condition or treatment that affects body temperature regulation resulting in higher heating costs.
Applications for either grant can be made using this online form: West Lothian Fuel Grant
Unison members may also be able to access a one-off Energy Support Fund grant of £200 to help with winter energy costs. This grant is available to Unison members with a low income and savings, or who are in receipt of means tested benefits. The fund is open from 16th November 2022 and applications should be made online. Follow this link for full criteria and to make your application: Unison Energy Support Fund
What we mean by financial wellbeing
Financial wellbeing is about a sense of security and feeling as though you have enough money to meet your needs. It's about being in control of your day-to-day finances and having the financial freedom to make choices that allow you to enjoy life.
Here are a few ideas to help maintain your financial wellbeing.
- Write down your budget: Knowing your income, expenditure and disposable income once your day-to-day expenses are covered, will give you confidence in your decisions. If your partner or spouse usually looks after the finances, be sure to talk the budget through with them, so that you both understand your financial situation.
- Avoid income comparisons: Research shows that comparing ourselves to our friends or peers reduces life satisfaction. Keep in mind that we all have different priorities and find pleasure or enjoyment in different things. For example, you may love to travel and invest in experiences, rather than having a big car or house.
- Look for the positives: Research in the field of neuroscience has shown that practicing gratitude regularly can help to rewire your brain structure. Feeling grateful stimulates the production of natural 'antidepressants' such as serotonin and dopamine, giving you a feeling of contentment and wellbeing. Try writing down 3 things you're grateful for each day.
For more information on Financial Wellbeing, and up to date advice, check out the Advice Shop webpage. In addition please click for our handy guide to local advice and support in West Lothian.
West Lothian Council is a Living Wage accredited employer, which means that wage levels are set with the cost of living in mind. However, there is more to good financial health than just income.
Employee Financial Support Service (EFSS): Employees of West Lothian Council, who are worried about money matters, can access free, confidential advice tailored to individual needs by accessing EFSS through our Anti-Poverty Services. They can help you to look at your overall financial picture, with a view to maximise your income wherever possible and look at ways to reduce outgoing costs as well as helping to equip you with practical skills to put you in control of your money. You can access this service confidentially by contacting the Advice Shop on 01506 283000 or completing the online referral form. No details will be provided to your line manager.
Help EAP: Provided through our occupational health contract, employees of West Lothian Council can access the employee assistance programme, who will be able to provide free advice in relation to money matters including debt management. It is a free confidential helpline and available 24/7. Freephone 0800 0285 148
The Bridge Community Project: Understand that financial concerns impact on all aspects of our lives, and therefore offer residents of West Lothian an effective and comprehensive Financial Wellbeing Services that enables mental, emotional and financial resilience and wellbeing. is is a free, confidential, non-judgemental service tailored to your specific needs. To get support, fill out online form
West Lothian Credit Union: A not for profit organisation that offers affordable financial services in the forms of savings accounts, low cost affordable loans, free bereavement on savings and loans, prepaid debt cards, funeral plans, free wills service and half price power of attorney to its members. To become a member you need to live or work in West Lothian. Savings and loans can be deducted directly from your monthly salary. To access, call 01506 436666, complete the online membership form or download the application form from their website.
HSCP National Wellbeing Hub: For Health and Social Service workers in Scotland the National Wellbeing Hub has a section on Financial Wellbeing which includes help and support and a number of podcasts and webinars.
Macmillian @ West Lothian Information & Support Services: For support on all matters relating to cancer including financial advice and support in accessing benefits for those affected by cancer, contact Macmillan @ West Lothian on 01506 283053 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. .
Money & Pension Service: Are a body, sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions, with a joint commitment to ensuring that people throughout the UK have guidance and access to the information they need to make effective financial decisions over their lifetime.
MoneyHelper: brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. The offer a range of money guides, tools and calculations to improve personal finances including budget planners, mortgage calculators, pension guides and where to get free confidential advice on debt. MoneyHelper helpline: 0800 138 7777 or live online chat on website.
Step Change: Help you deal with debt in a manageable way. Provide a free debt advice that is based on a comprehensive assessment of your situation and then by providing practical help and support for however long it is needed. To access you can go online and use the live chat function or call 0800 138 111 Monday - Friday 8am - 8pm and Saturday 8am - 4pm. The also have an online debt advice tool and budget template to gather information before starting your debt advice session.
Mental Health & Money Advice: Mental health and Money Advice provide clear practical and support for people experiencing issues with mental health and money.
Citizen Advice Scotland: Will provide information for you to check how well you are managing your money and then what you can do if you do have some problems. They also explain what types of money issues might affect you, like getting a mortgage, and also what options there are for getting out of debt and who can help you.
Always make sure to keep yourself safe whilst online.
There are now more and more apps out there that can help with managing your general financial wellbeing. Listed below are some apps to get you started. Whilst these apps can be useful, they are not a replacement for seeking professional financial advice from an approved independent adviser.
Please check the suitability of each App, and if there are any cost implications or compatibility issues. Whilst most of the apps listed below are free to download, please be aware of potential in-app purchases.
- Mental Health and Money Toolkit- a resource to help you understand, manager and improved mental and financial wellbeing- Free, Web only
- Budget Planner- help you know exactly where your money is being spent and how much you've got coming in- Free, Web only
- Money Dashboard : An app that lets you see all your accounts in one place, including credit card, savings, loans etc so you know how much money you have left until payday and helps grow your savings. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority- Free, iOS, Android and Web
The app developer is solely responsible for their app's advertisement, compliance and fitness for purpose. Unless stated otherwise, apps are not supplied by West Lothian Council, and West Lothian Council is not liable for their use.