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Boss pays off employee's debt: Good or bad?

PayingdebtWe all know that work and life are intertwined...isn't that what work life balance is all about?

So should your boss know about your personal financial troubles and does he have a stake in bailing you out?

Nathan Stooke believes as a boss, he should help his employees -- and that means paying off their mounting financial debts. After hearing employees on the phone haggling with credit card companies, and having employees come to his office to ask for advances on their paychecks, he decided to take action.

First, Stooke hired a facilitator for $8,000 to put on a personal finance course for the 22 employees of Wisper Technology, a wireless Internet provider -- adding a little carrot for those who attended. If they finished the course, and raised company revenue by $6,000 a month, they'd get a 10 percent raise. Stooke required spouses to take the course with employees. All but two employees enrolled. So far, the course has helped them cut back on debt. It even helped one employee pay off a credit card and stock away savings.

Most of us have never taken a personal finance course and don't track our spending, even as the debt piles up.  A recent Accounting Principals Workonomix study found American workers spend nearly $3,000 a year on coffee and lunch alone. Paying down personal debt is the most common financial change American workers plan to focus on in 2012, the study found.

It can be disruptive to have debt collectors calling at the office and having people so worried about paying their bills that they're less focused on their work. But what do you think of the boss stepping in like Stooke did? Should he stay out of his employee's financial matters?