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Greater proportion of earnings to go on commuting costs

Some workers might have to fork out a third of their pre-tax salary on transport costs in 2013. This comes despite a boost in pay at the end of 2012 that outstripped inflation for the first time in three years.

According to the PayNet UK Salary tracker report from HayGroup, the so-called 'commuter crunch' is likely to be felt most keenly by low-earning workers with long journeys to make.

Train fares rose by an average of 4.2 per cent at the beginning of January, which means that someone on the median salary of £26,082 will be spending 8 per cent of their earnings on an annual season ticket, according to the report. Low earners with journey times longer than 50 minutes can expect to give over more than a fifth of their salaries to travel in London, and nearly a quarter in Birmingham.

Even though the fuel duty rise has been delayed, the news is not much better for motorists. On average, those driving to work will spend 5 per cent of pay on petrol. Petrol costs have gone up by 44 per cent since 2007, far outpacing the 16 per cent increase in pay over the same period. Low-earning motorists in Wales could be spending more than a third of their wages on fuel, the report warned.

Organisations can help employees deal with the rising cost of travel by providing opportunities for flexible working and home-working, season ticket loans and salary sacrifice schemes for bicycles and bus passes.

Acas gives extensive information on the various kinds of flexible work, including how to apply for and provide it. Acas also offers practical training courses on flexible working and Work/life balance.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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