Many employees at Planet Ford-Lincoln in Spring, Texas, believe they are their co-workers' keepers.
So much so that it led them to bankroll a stash of cash they call the Superfund. Employees can voluntarily contribute $10 per month, and those participants can withdraw funds during a personal financial crisis — think sickness, death or a significant other losing a job.
The money doesn't have to be repaid, but the need must withstand the scrutiny of a panel of co-workers empowered to approve or deny a request.
Since its creation in 2003, the fund has returned more than $100,000 to participating employees facing troubles such as mortgage foreclosures, hurricane-damaged homes and medical emergencies. The largest single payout was $8,000 for funeral expenses, said Shawn Burns, Planet Ford-Lincoln's general manager and operating partner.