Is it worth working for thirty quid a week?

(59 Posts)
worthitornot Tue 05-Mar-13 13:42:07

I'm due back to work soon from maternity, I've asked for time off over the summer as I can't afford to pay for summer clubs for my 6yr old and for my baby to go to the childminder.

When I go back to work I'll clear less than £30 a week - not including petrol for commuting and all the quids here and there for school fundraising and things like that. My husband earns reasonably well so I doubt we'd get benefits etc, and to be honest it's not so much the money, just the futility of it all. I'm sure there must be so many people giving up jobs they like because working isn't economically viable.

I get the impression work isn't overly happy about me being off over the summer but are prepared to go with it, which I'm grateful for, but they don't realise I would be PAYING to work if I came back during the summer. I think it would all grate less if I didn't know they'd been unable to find anyone to cover my role for the amount they pay me so had got someone in on a higher salary.

I don't want to give up work because I fear when I'd be able to go back in a few years, I'd be pushing 40 and unemployable - but right now it's a tempting option. I guess I need to ask for a raise.

Sorry for the rant, just wanted to get it off my chest. I'll prepare to be flamed by people saying I should be grateful for what I've got!

MortifiedAdams Tue 05-Mar-13 13:43:54

What are you going to do next summer?

Mintyy Tue 05-Mar-13 13:44:30

In my experience women of "pushing 40" who have already had their children are not unemployable.

sausagesandwich34 Tue 05-Mar-13 13:46:10

Do you not have family money in your house?

Is your husband not paying half the childcare?

If you step out of work now it will be very difficult to go back later and it would probably be at a lower grade than you are now

You aren't a single parent, childcare is a shared cost but if you want to be a sahm and it's right for your family but its not just a decision that affects your family now, it will have implications for years to come

Jengnr Tue 05-Mar-13 13:46:45

I wouldn't do it. 30 quid a week isn't worth leaving the baby for imo.

Bejeena Tue 05-Mar-13 13:48:06

Why do you think you'll be unemployable when you're pushing 40? Surely if you have had both your children by then and they are older you are in a better position as far as any potential employer sees it as you won't go off on maternity leave again.

Personally I don't get your argument and I myself would not be leaving my baby with someone else to look after for the total benefit of £30 a week.

To be honest in your situation I wouldn't even be asking for a raise, I wouldn't accept it even if it was double.

Jengnr Tue 05-Mar-13 13:48:47

Sausages, it's still family money. The family profit would be 30 quid a week. Whose salary it comes out of is immaterial, surely.

redskyatnight Tue 05-Mar-13 13:49:39

You have to think long term with children this age.
Childcare for the baby will only go down and your salary will only go up.
Having a job in a company means possible opportunities for advancement.

How secure is DH's job? I always think 1 income families are potentially at risk.

What field are you in? If you did have a break, would you want to go back into the same field?

cassgate Tue 05-Mar-13 13:49:51

This is the very reason why I gave up work when I had kids. 10 years ago now. I earned a reasonable wage but when you took into account travel costs and child care fees it worked out that I would have very little left at the end of each month. I was effectively working to pay someone else to look after the kids. For me it was a no brainer and I never went back to work. Both kids are now at school and at times I think it would be nice to go back to work but again it comes back to the same think what ever I earned I would be paying straight back out again for someone to look after the kids after school and during the school holidays.

Downandoutnumbered Tue 05-Mar-13 13:50:52

Are you factoring in employer /your own pension contributions when you say you'll be working for £30 per week?

Definitely worth asking for a pay rise if you've done your research and you're paid less than the going rate for the job. And if you like your job it's worth gritting your teeth and hanging in there for the stage when you don't have to fork out for childcare any more.

Bearbehind Tue 05-Mar-13 13:51:08

TBH it doesn't sound like you or your employer are getting a very good deal here?

If the £30 excludes travelling costs you won't have anything left really.

Your employer is hardly likely to be pleased at having to manage through the holiday periods without you so isn't likely to offer you any more money for the time you are available. It's not their fault child a us so expensive and at the nd of the day they have a job that needs doing.

Unless you work in an industry where you have to keep up to date with recent developments or practices, I would think you would be far more employable as a full timer in a few years time than a part timer who begrudges the situation now.

Bearbehind Tue 05-Mar-13 13:53:52

*child a us - childcare is blush bloody iPads

ShirleyB25 Tue 05-Mar-13 13:53:56

I would go with what will make you happy and suit your family's needs now. What's the point of busting a gut to work when you've got a primary school age child and baby? This is why all those school term time jobs are in high demand even if not well paid...

It might be harder to get a full time 'full on' job later, but won't be impossible. P'haps get something part-time now eg, childminding? or something along those lines

ISeeRedPeople Tue 05-Mar-13 13:55:28

Do you have a pension and other non-salary benefits that might make the take home pay more palatable? I, and many others, are in a similar position (and I will have two under 2 so will be doing it for over a year) but I try to focus on the total reward because if I just think about the money I'd go mad.

MoreBeta Tue 05-Mar-13 13:55:33

No it isnt worth it and is the main reason many women don't go back to work. The UK does not allow people to write off childcare costs against tax like many countries.

The only problem with stopping work now though is that it is very hard to go back later. DW just went back to full time work just 3 days ago and that was after 13 years of shared SAHP and she did work hard in between keeping up her skills. She is now working for 10% of what she used to get paid so she really isnt in it for the money.

BlueberryHill Tue 05-Mar-13 13:56:30

I was faced with a similar dilemma, whether or not to work, I would have cleared about £200 a month, but that would have excluded holiday clubs for summer hols for my oldest, similar child. I decided not to work, financially the pay off didn't outweigh the non financial costs to the family, just the stresses of getting in late and feeding everyone and getting them to sleep. I just didn't fancy the conveyor belt 4 nights a week.

The twins will get early years funding from Sept so I'm gearing up to go back to work and really looking forward to it. I'm the other side of 40 and thinking of retraining, I won't go back in at my previous level but I don't want to, I would like to be there for the children more than my previous job would have let me.

As for the family income bit, when I do the sums I base it on my income as the financial impact is based on whether I work or not, not my husband, as I want to look at the marginal impact. My DH pays for all of the childcare at the mo as well as everything else.

i thought this was going to day a 30 quid a day not a week

for me personally no way

but depends if you enjoy your job and want to stay there long term, sound sliek they dont pay you enough too

CockyFox Tue 05-Mar-13 13:58:39

I don't think it is worth it, I didn't go back after Mat Leave as I would have been working 40hr weeks for £9 a month ( and that £9 would have gone on petrol to get there).
But I was 22 and knew even if I had 10 years out I would have plenty of time to retrain and have a good career even if I couldn't get back into nursery nursing. I don't know if I would have made the same decision if I didn't have time on my side.

BeckAndCall Tue 05-Mar-13 13:59:07

Do you like what you do OP? Do you want to be doing it - or the next step up on the career ladder - in 3 or 5 years time? If so, that is a good reason to carry on.

And child care will get cheaper as the children get older - longer school days and nursery places all help.

It's a really difficult - and personal - decision. For me, it as worth paying the nanny the majority of my salary ( after tax) to set me up for future years. But not everyone feels the same. And who knows what the employment opportunities might be 5 years from now?

Snoopingforsoup Tue 05-Mar-13 13:59:42

I wouldn't worry, 40 is not unem

BikeRunSki Tue 05-Mar-13 14:01:53

I've just gone back to work for £11 net profit to our family/household income a day in my take home salary. Except we've moved offices and now we have to pay to park so it's actually £3.50 less profit.

But, that is from take home pay after NI and pension is paid. And as someone said above, childcare will only go down and my salary (hopefully ) will only go up. I work in a fairly specialist field of a profession with massive unemployment at the moment, so resignation would be professional suicide. DS starts school in September. Wrap around care and school dinners are not much cheaper than his childcare bill with his 15 hours subsidy at the moment.

Snoopingforsoup Tue 05-Mar-13 14:02:03

Sorry, hit post !
40 is not unemployable. Definitely not.
If you want to work, continue to do so. £30 a week is not a great deal in monetary terms but a job you like and which you can return to shouldn't be underestimated.
It's a tough call. Good luck deciding what to do.

TheKelda Tue 05-Mar-13 14:03:40

I'm in a similar position OP, I also have a 6 year old & a baby and am due back in Sept. After travelling costs & childcare, the family income goes up by a whole tenner a week. If I had a career, it would be an easy decision as it would be worth it in the short term but I don't, it's just a job.

It depends on how important your job and actually being at work is for you OP. Good luck with your decision, I'm putting mine off for a few months.

Viviennemary Tue 05-Mar-13 14:06:39

It depends on how much you like your job and how many hours you do. And if you actually enjoy going out to work and meeting different people. Don't think of the money alone unless you actually can't do without it. And then of course it's different. It is difficult to decide what to do. And all the childcare fees although they seem to go on forever and ever, they don't.

cerealqueen Tue 05-Mar-13 14:06:45

It might not be worth it financially, but if you want to keep up to date with your skills, your profession etc it might be. You would continue to progress career wise.

I take offence at the idea of 'pushing 40 and unemployable though.' Would you say that about a man?? No.

how much is wrap around care anyway, before school and after school club?
or how much are holiday clubs?

BlueberryHill Tue 05-Mar-13 14:17:34

Holiday clubs for me vary between £18 - £25 per day, latter price is for a full day. After school £5 per hour roughly?

worthitornot Tue 05-Mar-13 14:17:35

Wow - lots of responses!

I'm trying to think long term in that it's keeping my hand in.

I transferred into the job rather than working my way up, which I guess is why they don't pay me as much. I don't have any formal qualifications but have been performing well for the last 5 yrs but I doubt I'd get a similar job in a few years as things would change - it's IT based.

I'd not thought of the pension aspect, it's a good scheme so that's one pro point of going back. I do want to go back as I enjoy working and don't think I'd be a great SAHM to be honest.

Totally agree about it not being work's fault and I feel they are being really reasonable to be so flexible so I'm very lucky really. I have no family that can help out unfortunately so that's not an option.

Just feeling fed up I suppose as if I could go back earlier I would be ok to do it, perhaps if I just explain to work I can't afford to work the summer they will at least know it's not because I just want to have a jolly summer rather than work!

It really depends on your job. If it's something that mght be easy to get back into, e.g. some of the lower paid jobs, then it's not going to make much difference if you have a career break.

But if you have a profession then a career break may have a bigger impact than you expect. Have a look around your company and see what women who have had career breaks are doing - chat to them and find out what they did before and how it affected them. My only experience is women who've had career breaks and then only been able to find jobs on 30% of their previous salary and less responsibility, so it put me off being a SAHM, not that it was every financially an option for us as I'm the main earner.

I don't think anyone can say what is right for you and your family without knowing all the circumstances.

BlueberryHill Tue 05-Mar-13 14:20:52

Any chance of phasing back in towards the end of the summer holidays so that once you are back full time you hit it running?

It is a really difficult balancing act, especially in IT, a friend is in a similar position and went back or she wouldn't have kept or skills up. If you back and it isn't working, the worse thing that happens is that you resign and you haven't lost anything. Give it a really good go though.

Babyroobs Tue 05-Mar-13 14:21:04

Try to remember that some of the school holidays can be covered by you or your partner taking holidays. We cover the summer hols by taking a couple of weeks off each and one week together. However I am lucky that I get a good holiday entitlement. I agree it's a difficult decision, could you consider going part time. I would be wary of giving up work altogether in the current climate.

dashoflime Tue 05-Mar-13 14:23:55

OP: Have you checked whether Tax Credits will pay anything towards childcare?

Also: Is there a good reason why your DH can't share the burden for time off during the summer?

If you've already considered these issues: then my answer would be No, probably not worth it.

If they aren't prepared to offer a higher salary (or childcare vouchers) then I would probably not go back.

Its shit though, this how gender inequality gets entrenched imo sad

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Tue 05-Mar-13 14:24:39

most definately explain to them your reasons for needing the time off, and that this will nee to be the case every summer.

badguider Tue 05-Mar-13 14:37:18

Well..... It sounds to me like you enjoy your job and don't really want to be a fulltime SAHP, that it would be hard to get another job at the same level elsewhere (due to your different entry route) and that the pension is good, so I would say that yes, it is worth it. So long as it's not going to make you stressed and miserable.
But, why don't you get your DP/DH to take holiday towards the end of the summer to allow you to do a phased return or start back earlier?

My DH is going to take a day a week for six weeks to allow me to start back from mat leave 1 day a week for six weeks to do a specific task/role that will benefit my employer and I get a lot out of.

valiumredhead Tue 05-Mar-13 14:46:41

cassgate you and me both, I could've posted that smile

Llareggub Tue 05-Mar-13 14:47:41

You need to factor in all eventualities. If you'd ask me 3 years ago when I was on maternity leave with my second child I'd probably have advised that you give up work. Three years later, I am a single parent of a 6 and a 3 year old and bloody grateful my earning capacity is greater than average. My exH is an alcoholic and contributes sporadically.

Married women I know all seem to think what happened to me could never happen to them, but hey, shit happens. Keep earning.

jellybeans Tue 05-Mar-13 14:50:58

Not worth it at all. Plenty of time to go back later.

QueenOfCats Tue 05-Mar-13 14:52:10

I'm £6 per month better off working than not.

JsOtherHalf Tue 05-Mar-13 14:52:14

Can you salary sacrifice from your wages? Childcare vouchers would be usable towards a lot of summer schemes, as well as nursery. Any chance of compressed hours etc?

www.thesalarycalculator.co.uk/

worthitornot Tue 05-Mar-13 14:58:23

Thanks for the replies, I guess I need to have a long think about it.

My gut is to go back as I do like my job and I think it will be worth it in the end, but it's just so annoying.

DH is good with helping but he has projects at work that mean he can't take much time off before the summer. He earns more than me so is the main breadwinner really.

I appreciate all the responses, it's a shame there are so many people in the same boat.

Will have a long hard think...

BionicEmu Tue 05-Mar-13 14:58:52

I just don't know what the answer is, but I can completely empathise with you.

I've just had DC2, & will not be going back to work. I simply can't afford it. My take-home pay is approx. £60 a day, but childcare for both DC will be £80 a day, plus approx. £7 a day commuting costs. So going back to work will actually cost us approx. £27 each day.

It's truly shit. My job isn't really a career, but it's something that's taken me several years to work my way up to being as skilled as I am, & it just seems such a waste. Although otoh, I love my job but I really hate where I work.

JsOtherHalf Tue 05-Mar-13 14:59:04

In all honesty I have only been making money for working since ds started school. I am grateful I went back after the 12 months as I probably would not get the job now without a post grad qualification. Also DH's job was in doubt last year, and it was reassuring to have another income, albeit much smaller.

SaggyOldClothCatpuss Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:01

Not bloody likely!

But then Im not career orientated. for me a job is just a job.

thejoysofboys Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:58

I’m in a very similar situation but I take home £30 a month, not per week :D

I have 2 children under the age of 3 so childcare costs are astronomical.

I work part time (3 days).

I would have happily taken a career break if one was on offer as I would really prefer to have been at home with my children during their early years but I go to work for the following reasons:
-I work for a good employer who has given me a lot of opportunities during my career so far
-I’ve recently transferred offices and departments (at my request) when we moved over 100miles
-My field of work is v v v male oriented and, although my office here has quite a few part time working mums in good positions, it’s the exception rather than the rule so the possibility of getting a decent job at a similar level with similar pay and working hours would be v difficult if I left my job and tried to return to work in a few years time
-It’s important in my job to keep up with new training and skills
-I do actually like my job
It’s not a great position to be in & my £32.78 a month (plus pension contributions) is hardly compensation for the stress of juggling small children and big projects but I do believe in the long term it’ll be worth it….

ItsallisnowaFeegle Tue 05-Mar-13 15:08:39

I'm watching this thread with interest OP.

I'm due to return from Maternity soon and after nursery fees, travel etc. I'm not going to be left with much.

I earn an OK salary, but had to accept a salary cut a year ago, due to funding issues (my employer is a not for profit charity and we rely on funding for all of our projects, every financial year). Funding is never guaranteed and every employee faces possible redundancy every financial year start, so I'm actually waiting to find out if there's a job for me to return to. If there is, I may need to accept another cut in my salary.

I think about work constantly and despite loving what I do, I wish my DP earned enough for me to SAH with our DS for a while.

I say, if you can afford to, stay home with your DC. They grow too fast.

StuntGirl Tue 05-Mar-13 15:16:53

I would balance the £30 a week now against the benefits of a pension, national insurance payments, continuing employment and better future prospects (pay rises, experience to get a better job). £30 looks pretty good to me against that backdrop.

But that's based on my career which has good prospects. If it was my old retail job there'd be no future pay rises bar the next NMW rise and virtually no a much lower chance of progression. So you'll need to think about your own personal circumstances and how positive an effect working will, or potentially could, have for you.

JuliaScurr Tue 05-Mar-13 15:24:49

eternal dilemma - jobs are for people who have mothers or wives. As soon as children arrive it's virtually impossible. 'Job' should be redefined as compatible with schoolhours/holidays and parental leave. For men and women. Particularly helpful to party solve unemployment by sharing availabe work. Or child bearing age women will always lose out. Child care & care for elderly should be a given, like basic education.

elfycat Tue 05-Mar-13 15:27:15

I've just let my nursing registration lapse. My specialty would call for shift work and with DH working away from home for weeks at a time I just couldn't get the childcare. I did try when DD1 was a year old but it was clear that it wouldn't work when DH is away.

DD1 starts school next year and DD2 2 years later. I have trained in complementary therapies which I will be able to do as self-employed. I figured I should crack on with it as soon as DD2 gets her childcare hours (Jan 2014).

Today I discussed with DH (over the phone as he's away at the moment) that since I have enabled him to take up his career (which he is loving) maybe in return he could enable me to continue to be a full time parent to our children, which I enjoy. Not having to find childcare to fit a job that just about fits our lives until all the changes settle. He thought it a quite reasonable balance shock

But this suits us and our philosophy over money and work/life. It took me a while to come around to the idea that I didn't want to work and I was quite resentful over losing that aspect of my life. I was very stressed about letting my nursing lapse but once it was gone the stress evaporated.

But now I'm looking forwards to the next 2-3 years. After that who knows?

worthitornot Tue 05-Mar-13 15:55:34

There are a lot of us then!

I think I will go back and grin and bear it. I don't really feel annoyed at my employer to be honest, though the fact I am probably underpaid grates a bit, they have been good to me in the past and I appreciate that. It's not their 'fault' I decided to have a family.

I need to get in the 'long term' mindset and think that in a few years time I'll be glad I (hopefully still) have a job.

worthitornot Wed 06-Mar-13 07:28:38

Oh, just realised I did my sums wrong and it's £30 a month not week... which will all go on petrol.

Clearly I'm an idiot...

grobagsforever Wed 06-Mar-13 07:54:38

I agree with the poster re protecting yourself. Women must protect their own earning potential, given that half of all LTR fail. No one thinks it will happen to them. I think bring a sahm is v risky unless you have a career you can walk back into such as doctor...sorry, not a popular view but with child support payements being so low...

youfhearted Wed 06-Mar-13 08:10:53

basically you need cheaper child care. i gave up with 2 when i was going to be left with £50 a week shock whch in retrospect was not such a good decision.

CPtart Wed 06-Mar-13 08:26:31

I worked for next to nothing for two years while my two DS were at nursery part time. I have nor regrets at all. Least of all maintaining my sanity, I kept up with my pension, professional skills, confidence in the workplace etc.
I would have a careful think about how you will manage every summer hols though, and also all those half terms and times when DC are ill and unable to go to school. We manage but it's a struggle, and usually end up taking opposite annual leave from work with my DH to try and cover.

MummytoKatie Wed 06-Mar-13 09:00:16

One thought is that your children will be fed and kept warm at the childminder. Otherwise in winter you will all be at home with the heating on so some savings there.

My own experience was that 2 weeks after I went back to work with dd my dh was made redundant. No warning. Just went to his normal 9am meeting with his boss and 20 minutes later was escorted off the premises. It was a hard time but would have been so much harder if I had given up work.

DueInSeptember Wed 06-Mar-13 10:09:09

What about going part time? Less of your wages will be swallowed up by tax and your childcare bill will be smaller. I'm guessing there will be a point where your earnings will be maximised depending on the ratio of these.

What qualifications, skills do you have - can you apply these to a different career later on, or could you retrain and build on these?

Any option of freelance/ self employment in your line of work? Or something you've fancied trying for a while?

These would be the sort of things I'd try and ask myself and I'd try and think of alternative solutions.

Kytti Wed 06-Mar-13 10:20:23

YANBU if you want to be a SAHM. I'm (ahem) pushing 40 and sacked off my career for the children, but that was a joint decision with dh. That was always our long-term plan.

If you want to work quickly again though, I dunno... you're going to have to give it serious thought. I'm going to retrain in a few years, as I don't want to go back to my career. You need to work out what YOU want to do.

worthitornot Wed 06-Mar-13 10:22:16

Thanks for the replies, and encouragement...

My gut instinct is to go back, and I do want to go back, I enjoy my work. grobags is right, there is a part of me that worries that if something happens and I needed to support myself if I'd given up work I'd be stuffed.

I'm going to try and move heaven and earth to make it worthwhile and just suck it up for a little while if it's not.

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate all the input - it's made making a difficult decision a bit easier.

whenitrainsitpours Wed 06-Mar-13 11:59:38

I sympatise with you not an easy choice/decision to make. I also had to make that decision when I had my first dd as I was in a full time job that I loved and on good enough salary. My husband also worked ft earning a bit less than I. After doing the maths, decided to become a sahm as what i really wanted to do was stay with my dd and raise her till she would be in school ft. Three years later, had ds who is now going to start school ft in September. I am planning to go back to work ft and have to to share all my holidays and husband's to look after our to dc during all of their 12 weeks holidays (6 during Summer, 2 at Easter, 1 week at each term=3 and 2 at Christmas time). I hope we will have enough holidays to cover it all. I am lucky as my dh finishes work normally for 3pm so can pick up dcs from school. As for being 40sh not being employable i reckon it is all in the frame of mind. If you can keep up your skills and contacts ie references, it makes it easier to return. I have to say also that since dd was 8 months old, i started a part time job working three shifts a week while dh stayed at home in the evening with dc. As they are in bed early it did not cut on my time spent with them and was able to maintain some sanity on my part to be able to socialise outside the home and also make a few extra pounds usually nmw 12 hrs a week so about made £75 a week tax free as i earn under personal allowance. Also manage to get family tax credit as my dh was the only breadwinner. Lots to pounder when making decision, not just financially but also what will make yu happy whether you prefer working or be at home with dc. Good luck.

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-13 17:20:27

I worked for £10 after costs (nursery, luckily WAH) when DC1-DC2 were little. I'm looking at jobs that will net £1-£4/hour now which seems positively miraculous.

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