Financial Services

Debt crisis caused by unpaid leave

Living in Lancashire makes you very aware of the importance of British Aerospace to thousands of families locally. Many of the jobs at British Aerospace have been under threat for many months, so I was interested to read this week that it has been suggested that some of the jobs that are likely to disappear could be saved if a certain number of workers agreed to take unpaid leave.


This is an interesting departure, but it set me thinking. While saving a job and a regular income is naturally the thing most people would want to do, for some of those workers, unpaid leave would be a massive blow to the finances. Literally, the way things are, any loss of income, even if only for a few weeks, would tip personal debt management over the edge and into the abyss.


But then I started thinking about the impossible position that people in a personal debt crisis would be in. If they voted against taking unpaid leave, they would probably be seen as being selfish and ‘out for themselves’ by fellow workers happy to take unpaid leave, but on the other hand are not likely to want to reveal their personal debt situation and use it to justify their actions. It is often hard enough for people to talk about personal debt as it is, let alone reveal your situation to colleagues.


If the vote is carried for the unpaid leave, there could be other implications. If you boldly booked a holiday, knowing that you would struggle to afford it, but not wishing to let the family down, you could be in very hot water. You might not be able to get your money back, but you might equally not be able to afford to go and pay for meals, outings and other holiday expenses, without living off your credit card. If your personal debts on credit cards and loans are already barely manageable, this could be the holiday that brings your financial pack of cards tumbling down.


For all I know, this unpaid leave situation might be cropping up all over the country and it it’s been suggested at your place of work, the dilemma that I’ve outlined might ring true for you. If you know that you are going to have to sign up for a deal like this, to at least keep some income coming in and avoid redundancy, but know how hard it’s going to hit you, get yourself some debt advice and debt help immediately.


If you cannot control what’s happening with your income, at least you can try to impact on the personal debt payments that you are being asked to pay, by asking a debt counsellor to guide you through the process and negotiate with your creditors on your behalf, in an attempt to lower the payments that you make to your creditors each month. This might take things to a more manageable level and help get you out of hot water.


There’s no shame in asking for help with your personal debts. Millions of people are now doing this. I’d even speculate that some of your colleagues are also worrying themselves sick about the impact of unpaid leave. The difference might be that you take my advice and get help, while they do not.