"Errors in pay force younger workers to rely on high-cost credit to afford food"

A third of 16-24-year-olds in the UK and Ireland have struggled to afford food over the last year because of mistakes or late payment of their wages, according to new research.

Conducted by MHR International, the survey of 1002 employees also shows almost half of them had to take out a loan or credit card to cover their living costs and 53% had been paid incorrectly or late due to payroll errors.

Stuart Price from MHR said: “It 's shocking that during an already difficult year, so many young adults have been short of food and other necessities because of payroll mistakes.

“Younger workers are more likely to be on zero-hours contracts or other flexible terms of employment which make it difficult for some employers to get pay right, especially if they are using government furlough or wage subsidy schemes and manual payroll processes.

"Undoubtedly payroll teams have faced significant challenges over the last year with last-minute changes to Government schemes and guidance, however it is simply unacceptable for young employees to be relying on credit and struggling to buy food because they haven’t been paid correctly.”

Nearly one in two in this age group blamed the pandemic for leaving them out of pocket because of mistakes or late payment, this figure rises to 75% for those working in the arts and culture sector. Of the 16-24-year-olds experiencing pay problems, 11% were paid both late and the incorrect amount, 22% were paid incorrectly, and 20% were paid late.

Download the full report here.

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