Second jobs: travel workers who need two incomes to pay the bills

Lisa James investigates the trend for travel agents to take on a second job to pay their bills.

Help - some travel workers need a second income to make ends meet

What a day. Your regional manager said you’re way off your sales targets, you’ve had to deal with rude and grumpy customers, and to cap it all, one of your most loyal clients has just said she’s found a cheaper holiday on the Internet.

All you want to do is get home, pour yourself a large glass (or three) of Sauvignon Blanc and curl up on the sofa.

But you can’t. You’re one of the growing army of travel industry workers who can’t get by on your basic salary so have been forced to take a part-time job.
Be it barmaid, cleaner, taxi driver or Avon lady, a second job is a reality for many who work in travel, according to a recent survey by Travel Weekly. 

Our online survey showed that 12% of respondents had a second job, saying they “couldn’t survive financially without it”. And a staggering 48% said they were seriously considering getting one. Only 40% of respondents said they earned enough in their main job to get by.

Travel industry workers are not alone. According to recent statistics by finance organisation Liverpool Victoria, one in four UK workers has a second job to help pay off mounting debts or help with the cost of living.

And, with mortgage repayments going up, fears of a credit crunch, and higher utility bills, the number of people getting a second job looks set to rise.

Second jobs: the law

In most cases you will have to pay tax on your second job.

For the current tax year, until April 5 2008, you can earn up to £5,225 before having to pay tax. After that, income is taxed as follows:

  • 10% on the first £2,230
  • 22% on the £2,231-£34,600
  • 40% on earnings over £34,601

A good employer should ask a second jobber to fill in a P46, giving details of their main employer, which will be sent to the Inland Revenue.

It’s a good idea to check that your second employer has you on the correct tax code, otherwise you will be paying emergency tax (which is at a higher rate).

If your second job is not PAYE, you will have to register as self-employed, and pay tax and National Insurance contributions on these earnings. If you do not declare second-job earnings, you could well end up with a big tax bill to pay.

At the end of each tax year, both employers will give you a P60 (which shows how much you’ve earned and how much you’ve been taxed). You will need these if you want to claim a tax rebate.

National Insurance must be paid on both jobs. If you have paid too much, it can be claimed back when you do your tax return.

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