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Helping the people that help us: a conversation with Caroline Clarke

In a particularly challenging year for the NHS, Royal Free London partnered with Earnd.

In a particularly challenging year for the NHS, Caroline Clarke, Group Chief Executive of the Royal Free London, made the decision to partner with Earnd to help alleviate the financial pressure that her teams are under.

In this quick interview she talks about what the process has been like, as well as how staff have found using on-demand pay.

Why did Royal Free London sign up with Earnd?

Way back in early 2020, we were talking about the fact the NHS and we (Royal Free London) have a higher number of low paid staff than we’d ever realised. We understood this idea called the proverty premium – where if you’re not paid that much, you end up borrowing more and you don’t get access to cheap credit. And we realised we were paying people many, many days after they’d done work, and were therefore effectively borrowing money from them. It just seemed wrong.

An app like Earnd, which effectively lets employees choose when they get paid, seemed to be an obvious thing for us to do. So, here we are now with an app where staff can get paid as they earn and it absolutely feels like the right thing to have done.

How have your staff found using Earnd?  

We’ve been partnered with Earnd since April 2020 and we’ve got nearly 600 of our staff using Earnd at the moment at the Royal Free London. They’ve conducted 4,500 to 5,000 transactions. So it’s been used a lot and they absolutely love it.

They’ve said things like ‘Earnd makes me feel in control’ and ‘I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to get money from to put petrol in the car’. I’ve got loads of quotes like that.  

Our staff have said they’re not having to borrow as much from high interest charging lenders. Saving on transport costs, saving on gas and electricity, saving on insurance, saving on higher cost credit, it all mounts up.

I feel very confident we’ve done the right thing – we’ve done our staff a favour. I can’t wait to roll it out to everybody.

What would you say to other NHS Trusts considering signing up with Earnd?

Earnd is available through the MySBSPay app. Our staff really like it. They’re using it in higher volumes than we thought they might. You’ve got to tell them about it, broadcast it and be the evangelist for them – but when they use it they realise it’s something that’s really going to help their lives and materially improve their financial wellbeing. That makes them come to work and feel happier as a result. 

Post-Covid, one of the things we’ve realised is we’ve got to take pebbles out of people’s shoes. In my Trust – which is a multi-hospital organisation – that ranges from helping people get access to food, talking therapies and yoga, to also making sure we can help them with issues like financial wellbeing. I see Earnd as one of those services you just provide for staff in an overall health and wellbeing package – part of our duty of care.

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What next?

There’s no reason for employees to wait 30 – or more –  days to get paid. Earnd removes the barrier between earning money and receiving money so that budgeting is easier and unexpected costs are less stressful.

If you think this could work for your business, take a look at how on-demand pay works and join the revolution.

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