Earned Wage Access (EWA) — Everything you need to know about wage advance services

Wage advance services are becoming an increasingly popular financial benefit offered by companies for employees. In this blog, we will walk you through everything you need to know about Earned Wage Access and see how you could use it for your business.

Earned Wage Access (EWA) —
Everything you need to know about wage advance services

Earned Wage Access (EWA)

Earned Wage Access is the proper term used when we talk about wage advances in business. EWA, by definition, is a salary advance scheme that companies offer that enables their employees to access their earned wages on a date prior to payday.

This breaks up the common monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly pay by spreading it across the month. It allows financial flexibility for employees to use their earnings when they need them the most.

Why is it important

Financial well-being has an influence on employees’ performance levels. With this said, financial stress can negatively impact employee productivity. According to SHRM, 80% of employers report that financial stress is lowering their employees’ performance level, and it’s costing them nearly half a trillion dollars annually. From the pandemic to home loans and student debt, these are some of the many factors that could be stressing your team and keeping their talents from shining through.

Why employees might need wage advance

  • Bills exceed payroll amount
  • Sudden medical expenses
  • Unexpected bills go unpaid

When employees have access to their earnings before payday, urgent financial needs can be dealt with without the involvement of financial products that incur more debt, fees, and stress.

As much as EWA is a useful tool for employees to sort out their finances, you might want to dig into the “why” a company would care about someone’s personal financial wellbeing. As a matter of fact, the benefits come double-sided — the companies that implement EWA for their staff reap the benefits too.

The benefits of EWA

EWA increases shift coverage

In PwC’s 2018 Special Report about Financial stress, it revealed that 50% of employees feel stressed about their finances. Another 12% said they missed work more than once to deal with money problems. In 2021, 63% of employees say that their financial stress has increased since the start of the pandemic. With EWA, financial issues can be dealt with faster and painlessly. According to Branch.com, EWA can result in a 60% increased shift coverage.

EWA can decrease employee turnover

According to Visa Insights report, 80% of employees said they would stay with an employer longer if they offered EWA. Some live from paycheck to paycheck, and this is mostly true for hourly workers. They would simply not continue working for a business that doesn’t offer EWA because they feel they are missing out on this key benefit.

EWA help attract new talent

EWA helps you retain talent but it can also help you attract new staff. Many companies offer financial wellness programs to stay competitive with other firms. Adding earned wage access as part of your benefits package in a job description can double your number of applicants.

It creates a stronger relationship with employees

Building a good relationship with your team is an important part of a business. EWA makes employees feel valued and cared for, which boosts their confidence and performance. It will also give a good image for the company. As a rule of thumb, companies that bring attention to workers’ well-being — specifically their financial security — are better off.

With this said, employers can reap positive business benefits and create stronger bonds with workers with EWA. It enables your workers to stay focused on their jobs instead of thinking about how they’ll handle a financial crisis.

How it works

A salary advance is a pretty straightforward concept. However,

  1. The employer must first decide whether it wants to integrate an EWA system in its business for its employees. EWA is most common for low-wage and hourly workers but it is becoming more popular in financial wellness programs. Of course, the decision depends on factors like your company’s stage of development, work culture, and priority.
  2. Decide on the flow of funds. Once you are clear about implementing EWA, you must determine how employees access the advance and who provides the initial funds. The company or an EWA provider can provide the capital for advances.
  3. Each EWA provider differs in its processes and product offerings. Some only offer the capital needed, and others provide an all-in-one service (capital, management of accounts, and funds). It is important to choose the one that is suitable for your business model. For instance, some providers will require you to move employees’ direct deposits through their accounts.
  4. You must learn how EWA technology can be used. EWA can be managed in different ways. For example, the advance can be loaded in a prepaid card, it can be managed in an integrated app, or directly deposited into the employee’s bank account.

What to include in a salary advance policy

A salary advance policy is essential to delineate all the appropriate rules that employees need to follow before applying for the advance money. It saves both employees and employers the headache from possible misunderstandings in the future.

5 essential things:

  • Who is eligible for the advance?
  • How much money can the employee ask for?
  • How you will deduct money for repayment?
  • Will you charge a fee to cover paperwork?
  • The process if the employee is terminated

A win-win situation

EWA can be a great win-win solution for both ends — the employees and employers. The employee gets paid early and the employer secures workplace satisfaction which grants productivity.

The only possible risk -on the user’s side- is if they rely on it. Let’s imagine you get your paycheque early this month. This means that you will have to work harder or budget down to make it stretch until your next paycheck. You can reapply for another wage advance, but make sure it doesn’t become a cycle you won’t be able to get out of.

Even while there may be little to no cost (a minor fee) for the wage advance, these advances should still be considered solely as short-term solutions.

If we look at other alternatives…

EWA keeps employees from resorting to other “solutions” like payday loans, emergency loans, or credit cards. These alternatives may be less practical, more costly, or even predatory, and can make their problems worse.

EWA misconceptions

  • It is not a loan. There are no interest charges but a small fee may be incurred. EWA is different from a payday loan, which is a short-term unsecured loan that usually charges high interest.
  • It is not a payroll replacement. It is a short-term financial solution when employees need it.
  • It is not a futures earnings advance.


To summarise, in order to positively impact the business, a company must engage in the well-being of its employees. An Earned Wage Advance is a powerful short-term financial wellness solution. It allows flexibility by letting employees receive their wages earlier than usual. When used correctly, it strengthens overall engagement at the office and lets your business grow faster.

What to keep in mind

  • Help the employees, help the business
  • EWA is a solution to solve short term financial stress of employees
  • It helps employees avoid predatory lending and debt traps
  • It increases employee shift coverage
  • It decreases employee turnover
  • Can be used as a financial benefit to attract new talents
  • It creates a stronger relationship with employees

How Zetl can help

We specialize in providing SMEs with working capital to grow their business. We help you pay your employees on time, or in advance. We provide different types of funding solutions such as an EWA, working capital, and invoice financing which let you unlock funds fast, so you can increase staff well-being and grow your business.

Why choose us?

We are fast and flexible. Get paid the same day after signing up. Repay at your own convenience after 30 days.

Fully digital. Complete everything online — submit documents through our web app, and all contracts are executed digitally.

Confidential. Your client never needs to know about Zetl. All financing is fully confidential.

No personal guarantees. We believe business risk should be kept separate from personal liability.

Help your employees, help your business. Sign up on our website now! — www.zetl.com