As the cost-of-living crisis continues, more and more people are at risk of in-work poverty as finances are being squeezed like never before. In this article, employment partner at law firm TLT, Ed Cotton, shares advice on how employers can support employees’ financial wellbeing, how to normalise conversations about money at work and must-knows around seeking second employment.

Supporting financial wellbeing at work 

The latest State of Financial Wellbeing index found that hospitality workers are among the UK’s most financially stressed, but employers in the sector are lagging behind other industries in stepping in to provide support. For many people, stress around finances is likely to impact job performance, with one in four employees saying that money worries are affecting their ability to do their job.

Employers not only have a moral duty to support employees through this difficult time, but there is also a business case for doing so, including enhanced reputation, easier recruitment, better labour relations and improved employee commitment and motivation.

We’d encourage employers to start by reviewing pay arrangements and consider a pay increase or one-off cost of living bonus. Whilst employers don’t have a legal obligation to increase wages (other than in line with annual statutory increases to minimum wages), most employment contracts will include an annual pay review clause, which must be carried out in accordance with an employer’s duty to maintain employees’ trust and confidence. Compliance with this requirement will not only meet your legal duty but will also help to attract and retain valuable talent in a tight recruitment market.

Another area for employers to consider is fringe benefits. Although these can sometimes be perceived as a small thing, cumulatively they make a very big difference for staff. For example, discounted food offerings, help with travel costs through cycle to work schemes, season loans tickets, free meals and snacks at work – all these things can go down very well for staff. Salary sacrifice schemes for benefits such as pensions and electric cars are another relatively easy win, with the additional benefit of saving employer National Insurance Contributions.

Providing financial education and budgeting tools, as well as well as sharing information around the benefits of saving more into pension schemes can also be a cost-effective way of supporting staff.

Employees wanting to work a second job

With Shelter reporting a 45% increase (since April 2022) in renters being behind or struggling to pay their rent – it is no surprise that staff might turn to second jobs.

Employees should be aware that the implied duty of good faith and fidelity to an employer may restrict an employee from obtaining a second job and not advising their principal employer; and the contract might also expressly state that employees cannot work for second employers without the principal employer’s consent. However, exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts are not enforceable.

We would strongly advise anyone seeking second employment to carefully review their contract and start by having a conversation with their employer in the first instance.  We’d advise employers dealing with second employment requests to discuss these with their employees, thinking carefully about the context and how multiple roles might be managed.  Remember that unless employees have specifically opted out, the 48-hour limit on the working week under the Working Time Regulations will apply across all roles undertaken by an employee – including those undertaken for separate employers. Employers also have a duty to maintain a safe system of work for their employees. The scope of this duty is wide and could encompass the impact of employees undertaking multiple jobs – for example, employees exhausted from multiple jobs may not be safe to work in a busy and potentially dangerous kitchen environment. That’s not to say that an employee cannot undertake additional employment with another employer; but, before agreeing to a request, employers must consider the likely impact on the business, the impact on the employee and the terms of the employee’s contract of employment.


Q.The local police are threatening to close down my pub because they say stolen goods are being sold here. Can they?

The crime and disorder licensing objective is broadly drafted and therefore the police can review a premises licence for suspected crime on the site. The Guidance mentions sale of stolen goods as a potential reason for a review and it would be for the licensing authority to determine whether the problems associated with the alleged crimes affect the promotion of the licensing objectives.  The guidance goes further and says, effectively, that even if the premises licence holder uses best endeavours to prevent the issue, if it continues, the committee should consider revocation for the good of the community.

Q.Local residents threatening to review my licence – can they do that?

In short, yes. However, the licensing authority should be screening out vexatious or frivolous reviews and preventing them from going ahead. However, the bar is set high here. If you have issues with residents, best to try to work with them and involve the authorities to make sure they are happy you are doing all you can to prevent the licensing objectives being undermined. 

This article was first published in Pub & Bar.

This publication is intended for general guidance and represents our understanding of the relevant law and practice as at November 2023. Specific advice should be sought for specific cases. For more information see our terms & conditions.


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Date published

15 December 2023


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