Emergencies happen all the time. Just this morning we discovered our stash of Twirl bars had been greedily consumed by the sunshine, leaving a puddle shaped bar of sun-bleached chocolate to eat. The hardship. In the real world, there are real problems. But is your business equipped to help out when it needs to?

Nearly half of 2,000 employees surveyed by Barclays said that they worried about their finances, and nearly one in five said that they lost sleep because of it. A fifth said that their financial situation affects their work and company bottom line declined by 4 per cent because of employees’ money worries, the report said. If this is a ‘regular state of affairs’ – throw in a disaster – a flood, a burglary, another natural disaster, or even a large unexpected bill – and you can expect stress to go through the roof.

A trending benefit has been emerging stateside in the form of an employee emergency fund, and the systems in place look pretty smart.

We heard about bank SunTrust’s own system – the system, called MomentumUp, which features on offer includes a financial education profile, models for learning, counselling and a desktop to manage accounts and debt in one single view. They have given their employees system access for the last two years and it came out in Time magazine that other brands such as Home Depot, Delta Airlines, Waffle House, and 1-800-CONTACT  were also taking a look at integrating it.

SunTrust came up in the press because they spoke about how they can give $1,000 toward employee emergency funds and also offer an extra day off work for employees to organize their finances.

Either way, the stats look good and they seem to yielding significant benefits for workers. When they took a survey of participants, the percentage of employees living on a budget increased from 43% to 87%; workers with emergency savings increased from 68% to 98%; and worker retirement contributions increased by 35%.

You might choose to fund in a variety of ways. You could look at employee-direct donations or through payroll deductions, via philanthropic funds, fundraising activities, ‘swap outs’ of holiday days or through events. You may want to offer ‘matched contributions’, which would allow the company to control and determine the receipt of relief payments. You may want to speak to your friendly legal advisor about the tax implications of such a scheme – in the USA, for example, an employer-sponsored private foundation could be recommended but may result in the need for a ‘certain type’ of disaster to be endured for payout.