As a small business owner with financial constraints, offering traditional healthcare benefits might be challenging. However, there are alternative ways to support and care for your employees. One way Cour Collaborative is attempting to do this is by establishing an Employee Relief Fund. Our goal is to provide a safety net for our team in times of need, fostering loyalty and enhancing their well-being.
Here are some steps you can take to start your own Employee Relief Fund (ERF) and how we chose to implement ours:
If your existing margins don’t offer the wiggle room to implement an ERF without raising prices, you can consider doing what we did: we started charging a 10% ERF fee on top of our service charges and chose to be transparent with our clients about what the fee was for. It’s been very well received with many of our clients not only happy to pay, but choosing to implement their own ERF.
Our ERF is currently defined as coveringunexpected expenses related to health, home, and caregiving responsibilities. But as a very small, single-owner business, there’s a little more flexibility to use our own discretion if an employee experiences a need seemingly outside of this scope.
In our case, we have no restrictions on length of employment or whether someone is full-time or part-time. But the future requirements of this program may look different as we grow.
We include information about this program in our onboarding contract and documents and include reminders of this program with information on how to apply in our weekly one-on-one meeting documents.
Since we’re a tiny business, I (Paula) personally receive and review all applications and don’t discuss who applied, for what reason, and whether they were approved or not with anyone other than the applicant. I also choose to keep the balance of the ERF account private so there is no chance of whispers about who may have received assistance when the fund balance reduces.
We have a simple Google Form asking for applicant information, why they’re applying, what amount they’re requesting, when they need the money, and a few other details. Regardless of who the applicant is and how much we may trust them, we always require documentation of some sort regarding their need. We aim to make a decision within 24 business hours of the applicant’s request.
We may not always be able to provide everything the applicant is asking for, and we try to be very clear about that in our onboarding and application documents. But we do our best so we can keep the amazing talent we have happy, healthy, and here.
We offer to cover the cost (up to $200) for our employees to visit with a mental health or personal growth professional of their choosing once per quarter. For each employee, this is less than $1,000 per year and is tax deductible.
In addition to our quarterly mental health or growth professional stipend, we have an “unwell” policy. When an employee says they’re unwell, we encourage them to take the time they need to feel well again while also offering to reimburse the cost (again, up to $200) of meeting with a doctor or mental health professional. This time off does not count against their PTO balance.
We specialize in helping growing businesses invest in the right people and successfully utilize their team. Call or text us at (512) 703-0773 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to help strengthen your team.
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Available November 2023