Londoners 'skipping work because they cannot afford the commute'

Rebecca Speare-Cole

Nearly two-thirds of Londoners have skipped work because they were unable to pay for the commute, new research suggests.

A new nationwide survey showed at least 60 per cent of people living in London had failed to go to work because of money problems.

That compared to a national average of 39 per cent.

According to the figures, employees in the capital are in general less financially healthy than those living outside of London.

19072019 At least 60 percent of respondents in the city said they had skipped work. (Pixabay/Callum Chapman)

The study, commissioned by employee benefit provider Hastee Pay and conducted by research firm Vitreous World, asked how employees financially survive the month until payday.

A total of 89 per cent of respondents in London said they had to source additional funds to make it until payday - including loans, credit cards and personal savings. This compared to 82 percent nationally.

More than half in London were also found to have applied for high cost credits such as overdrafts and payday loans (51 percent).

Hastee Pay's CEO and founder James Herbert called the figures "frightening"and said that monthly pay packets contributed to the problem.

London statistics on financial wellbeing

60% of London's workers have had to skip work as they couldn't afford the commute

89% have to source additional funds between pay days

51% have applied for high cost credit (credit card, overdraft, payday loan) knowing they would struggle with repayments but said it was their only option

63% are more likely to reject a job because of the cost of commuting.

54% of Londoners say buy-now-later-schemes influence them to spend money they don’t have

30% said that frequency of pay impacts their lifestyle choices

“What we are seeing is that there is a big difference between the way people earn money and the way they spend money," Mr Herbert said. "We now live in a pay on demand basis."

Mr Herbert believes that absenteeism from financial stress is one of the biggest strains on the British workforce.

"Employees might be physically and mentally healthy but do not have the cash flow to get to work at points in the month.

“We found 87 percent would consider pay flexibility when searching for a job because the cash flow is really important," he added.

Survey respondents who expressed difficulty with cash flows included "those earning hundreds of thousands of pounds" as well as low-income earners, Mr Herbert said.

"So cash flow management is enormously important and in some ways more important than the money that you earn and it is not necessarily a matter of how much you earn but how frequently you have access to what you earn."

Mr Herbert believes that the solution to cash flow issues is both financial education from a younger age and employers being realistic about how their workforce lives.

"Managing your income is absolutely crucial so having the tools and the understanding and awareness of how to do that effectively is vital."