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Allowing home and flexible working can help hard-hit commuters

Rail fare hikes this New Year have hit many commuters hard in the pocket. With money still tight as we enter 2012 and little good news ahead, could more flexible and home working be the answer?

According to the Hay Group's latest PayNet UK Salary Tracker, January's above-inflation train fare increases will swallow up around 8 per cent of workers' salaries. The average fare rise of 5.9 per cent was announced in December - just below the Chancellor's cap of 6 per cent ­- putting the average annual season ticket at £2,028, or 8 per cent of the median UK salary of £25,176. In some cases, the increases could mean some commuters spending up to 21 per cent of their annual salary on their journey to work.

In today's economic climate, many businesses don't have the luxury of being able to offer employees interest-free loans to buy their annual season tickets. However, there are other cost-effective options for supporting commuters. Enabling a degree of home working or allowing employees to work flexible hours to help avoid paying peak prices could go some way towards lessening the financial blow.

Acas provides support for employers through training and guidance on all aspects of The right to request flexible working.

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