MSP calls for early January pay to ease post-holiday hardship

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By a Newsnet reporter

An MSP is calling on employers large and small to follow the lead of Aberdeen City Council and bring forward January’s payday to give people financial breathing space after Christmas.

Last January a poll on the Moneysavers website found that 73% of respondents said that early Christmas pay caused budgeting problems in January as December’s pay packet had to last six weeks.

Although an early pay packet in December means more to spend over the holiday season, it also means waiting much longer for the next pay day.  This can stretch budgets, especially after Christmas has taken its toll on the family purse.

Mark McDonald, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, is concerned that December pay has to last a longer time over a very expensive period, and is asking organisations to consider the impact on their staff’s personal budgets.

Mr McDonald approached the Chief Executive at Aberdeen City Council to bring forward the January pay date.  Because February is a four week month, bringing forward January’s pay date causes less of a knock-on effect and helps financially stretched families to plan their budgets as it equalises the periods between pay packets.  Aberdeen City Council agreed to implement the change.

Mr McDonald said:

“I have spoken to many people employed in both the public and private sector, who have told me that they often struggle financially in January due to the early pay date in December.

“I acknowledge that paying early in December makes sense for payroll convenience, and also to allow staff access to their pay during the expensive festive season.

“But in isolation it is short-termist and makes for a very long January when bills start coming in and the everyday outgoings mount up and can lead to people turning to payday loans and into further debt.

“At the same time, I feel the four-week month of February presents an opportunity to equalise the pay windows across the year, and am calling for employers to consider making the change to the January pay date.

“I raised this with Aberdeen City Council some time ago and they have made the change. I hope other employers will follow suit and help ease the burden on household budgets in January.”