In this week’s Best Money Moves roundup, we take a look at news stories and new research studies that may impact employee benefits and HR issues. We hope you find this news roundup helpful, and we’d love your feedback.

Your employees are worrying about money. And, they’re spending a lot of their working hours each month distracted by financial stress.

It’s widely accepted that financial stress has permeated the workforce. Human Resources professionals discuss the effects of financial stress, including everything from lower levels of productivity and retention to higher costs of healthcare, higher levels of workplace accidents, and more unexplained absences.

Mercer, a global consulting company, recently published a new study, Inside Employees’ Minds: Financial Wellness. After surveying more than 3,000 employees, Mercer concluded that employees spent an average 13 working hours each month thinking about their financial troubles, while 16 percent spent more than 20 working hours a month worrying about their personal financial stress.

That means they’re not thinking about the company or focusing on their job. The study concludes that these lost 13 hours per month is “enough of an incentive for employers to help employees address financial concerns.”

The company has created a Mercer Financial Wellness Index to measure and assess an employee’s overall financial wellness. Those with lower levels were preoccupied with paying their monthly bills and those with higher levels were preoccupied with retirement, the study found.

The study also found that some of those employees who are the most stressed earn a significant amount of money. “As measured by the Mercer Financial Wellness Index, 14 percent of those in the two lowest financial wellness groups have household incomes of more than US $100,000.”

The study concluded that traditional means of financial education, often referred to as financial literacy, isn’t enough on its own. Using a program that focuses solely on education won’t help employees reduce financial stress. Successful programs must have the ability to personalize to an employee’s needs and individual financial stressors.

Mercer concluded that finding programs that create “financial courage” will help employees engage in issues at a deeper and more meaningful level, and they have created the Mercer Financial Courage Index to try to help employers engage in financial wellness.

Read Inside Employees’ Minds: Financial Wellness.

Ilyce Glink is the Founder/CEO of Best Money Moves.