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Can’t pay your bills? These employers want to help

February 17, 2021, 7:00 PM UTC
Emergency Expenses-COVID Perk
Emergency funds are becoming a more common COVID perk.
twomeows—Getty Images

Welcome to Worksheet, a newsletter about how people are working smarter in these turbulent times.

Every week, this newsletter will share analysis on the state of work by S. Mitra Kalita, a veteran media executive, author, and journalist.

In this week’s edition, Kalita looks at what forward-thinking employers such as Prudential are doing to help workers who struggle covering emergency expenses.


The job posting for a northern Virginia account executive itemizes the perks now standard in a pandemic: telecommuting, work-from-home stipend, weekly meditation classes. 

And … access to a “Family Fund, created to allow employees to request financial support when facing financial hardship or emergencies.”

Get ready to see this more often. 

Benefits packages have morphed and expanded greatly over the last year; workers canceled pre-tax commuter cards, for example, and instead demand reimbursement for office chairs, standing desks and tutors to supplement homeschooling. As companies prepare to return to work over the next year, they are assessing which offerings might remain, and repeatedly land on two interrelated areas: mental-health support and rainy-day funds in case of emergency. 


Kalita goes on to write about how employers are seeing these types of benefits not only as emergency access to cash, but also as part of a broad mental health wraparound. After all, it’s hard to focus on work when you can’t sleep because of unpaid bills.

Read her full column here.

Wondering what else the future of work holds? Visit Fortune‘s Smarter Working hub presented by Future Forum by Slack.

This week's reads

 
We wrote last week about Peloton, notably its commitment to diversity. On Friday, the first day of Lunar New Year, the company made a $100,000 donation to the Asian American Federation to fight anti-Asian discrimination. (Reddit)
 
 
Many entrepreneurs never put a succession plan into place, which leads to all sorts of complications when they pass or can't run the business. (New York Times)
 
 
As venture capitalists look to diversify who they are funding, one source they are tapping: Black accelerator programs. In a group of Black-led startups with $1 million in venture backing, a third had graduated from Black accelerators. (The Plug)
 
 
Despite the vaccine rollout, it's a little early to start setting return-to-work plans in place, experts say. They caution to be transparent with employees that guidance is ever-changing. (TechRepublic)