28 Human Resource Executive®
WORDS OF AUTHORITY
How Legal and Financial Stress
Impact Employee Wellness (and
What You Can Do to Help)
By Dennis Healy, Chief Sales Officer, ARAG
Not sure whether your employees are affected enough by stress for it to impact their
performance—and your bottom line?
Consider that American
businesses lose more than $300
billion every year because of
employees’ stress-related issues,
such as productivity, absenteeism
and out-of-pocket medical, insurance
and legal costs. Not to mention that
47 percent of employees say stress
causes performance issues for them
at work. Employees with high stress:
• are two times more likely to have
a heart attack than other employees
• experience a 500-percent
increase in anxiety and depression.
In order to help employees
manage their stress and improve
their productivity (and your
company’s success), you first need
to identify what’s contributing to the
Financial Struggles and Stress
When it comes to stress, much of
it can be traced back to one thing:
money—specifically, worrying about
whether there is enough of it.
A Gallup poll found that the
majority of Americans worry about
• 60 percent worry about not
being able to pay medical costs from
a serious illness or accident;
• 41 percent are worried about
being able to pay their basic monthly
Worrying about money becomes
a vicious cycle: People struggling
financially are three times as stressed
as those who aren’t, leading them
to become sick, which means more
work missed and more medical bills.
Legal Issues and Stress
One thing that causes lots of
stress but isn’t widely reported on
is legal issues. According to a 2016
study commissioned by ARAG, three
out of four Americans experience
one or more legal situations a
year. These employees feel very or
somewhat stressed about:
• not knowing where to turn or
how to get started (72 percent);
• the time commitment that has
been or may be necessary to deal
with the legal issue (69 percent); and
• the amount of money they may
have to spend or have already spent
Survey responses uncovered a lot
of financial uncertainty when it comes
to legal issues. When asked about
their ability to pay for legal expenses,
76 percent had no defined way to
handle such an expense. And those
expenses can add up fast, becoming
a major burden to your employees.
How Legal Issues Impact
The stress from dealing with legal
issues seeps into employees’ work
day: 68 percent of those surveyed
spent time at work dealing with their
legal issues. Half of employees had
to take an average of four days off
work to resolve their legal issues.
All this time spent worrying and
trying to sort out what to do or
who to ask for help adds up to less
productive employees. So how can
you help them?
Offer Legal Insurance to
Reduce Employee Stress
Legal insurance directly addresses
the top reasons people are stressed
about legal issues, including:
1. Not knowing where to turn or
how to get started.
Plan members can go online,
use an app or call to find local,
knowledgeable attorneys. When
people use an attorney, 96 percent
believe the attorney provided them
the best outcome, decreased their
stress or saved them time.
2. The time commitment that has
been or may be necessary to deal
with the legal issue.
In 2016, ARAG plan members
reported that they felt their legal plan
saved them an average of 8. 5 hours
3. The amount of money they
may have to or have already spent.
Most covered legal matters are
100-percent paid in full for legal-insurance plan members when they
use an ARAG Network Attorney. That
adds up to plan members saving an
average of nearly $2,000 in attorney
fees per legal issue.
ARAG member surveys show that
having legal insurance can greatly
reduce stress for those who are
dealing with a legal situation. In fact,
90 percent of ARAG plan members
feel that having legal insurance
reduces their stress when dealing
with legal issues.
Make this benefit part of your
core offerings and you’ll decrease
employee stress, which translates to a
more productive, engaged workforce.
Company leaders and employees will
thank you for it.