Nearly two-thirds of employees on incomes that fluctuate each week or month have revealed they sometimes or often have trouble ensuring their financial commitments are covered.
According to new research conducted on behalf of Debt Advisory Centre (DAC), nearly one in 20 (3.7%) respondents are on a zero hours or similar flexible temporary contract. Meanwhile, slightly more (5.6%) said their income can vary as they are self-employed and not always able to work, and one in 10 (9.6%) noted their income changed depending on overtime and bonuses.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the people who have a job where their income fluctuates said that they struggle with their finances either some of the time or frequently. More than one in 10 (14%) revealed they often have trouble meeting all of their financial commitments.
A change in working hours is one of the top 10 reasons clients called Debt Advisory Centre looking for advice and help in the year ending April 2014. When extrapolated to fit with last year’s finding of the Money Advice Service (MAS) that 8.8 million people in the UK are over-indebted, this is equivalent to nearly 150,000 individuals across the UK left struggling because of alterations to the hours they work.
Young people in the UK are the most likely to be on a zero hours contract, with nearly one in 10 (8.7%) of this age group saying they are in this type of employment. This compares to just one in a hundred 45 to 54-year-olds – although this age group is the most likely to be self-employed (8.9%).
Nearly a quarter (24%) of 18 to 24-year-olds also admitted they receive variable bonuses and overtime that causes their income to rise and fall each time they get paid, and 16% of 25 to 34-year-olds are in similar employment. An irregular income can make it difficult to budget for regular outgoings.
Spokesman for Debt Advisory Centre Ian Williams says: “More people are self-employed or on zero hours contracts than ever before, and our research shows that many are struggling to cope with the financial implications of an income that varies from month to month. Wages that go up and down each payday make budgeting incredibly difficult, and in some cases could even lead to debt problems.
“Whatever the reason they ended up with a problem debt, the important thing is that people seek help. There are advice and solutions available that should help ease the burden of debt and let people regain control of their finances.”