Dealing with the job center.

(93 Posts)
Yshara Tue 23-Oct-12 09:23:41

Hi all
I am sure i am not the only one..But i am not having a good time dealing with the job center. Single mother of two and my youngest is 6 i had to move from income support to JSA. They want me to go work full time in some shop for just my benefit money. I don't know if they can really do that? Working full time for just £70 pounds a wk don't really cut it for me.
The main issue i have with them is they seem to be forcing me to put my son in to some kind of childcare,so i can work longer hrs. At the moment they have changed my contract to find work from 9-3 and that is really not possible to drop my son off and pick him back up at school. I don't see what right they have to be making parents do that? Is any parent having the same issues?
I am really getting confused with my rights with dealing with them sad

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 09:33:24

Im sure you will get lots of posts telling you to get off your bum and work etc. It would appear that yes they can make people work, hadn't heard of them forcing people to put their children in childcare before though.

Can you try to actually get a proper shop job so that you get more than 70 quid for it?

Are they expecting you to pay for the childcare out of the 70 quid? Can't see that happening. Are they suggesting they arrange that for you?

On the plus side it might be good work experience, depending on what you are doing.

It would seem that you are going to end up having to work no matter what so best to do it on your own terms. Try to get a job that you will actually be paid properly for rather than working for your benefit money.

OddBoots Tue 23-Oct-12 09:34:59

I'm not too sure of the rules myself other than knowing you are expected to be looking for work of 16 hours a week a more (using childcare in the holidays etc as needed).

Gingerbread (charity for single parents) has a couple of pages that might help:
Claiming Jobseeker?s Allowance and other benefits
Moving from benefits to work

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 09:39:08

Oddboots. Is that right? I thought they would be happy enough with those working 16 hours (i know very little about this)

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Tue 23-Oct-12 09:39:49

Expecting you to look for work between 9 and 3 is hardly that outrageous. If necessary yes you may need childcare but so do most working parents. You can't expect to be allowed to remain on benefits indefinitely so I'd also try and get yourself a job that you like.

OddBoots Tue 23-Oct-12 09:43:59

I think they are happy with 16 hours (for now anyway) but you can't just stop working in the school holidays so some kind of childcare (formal or informal) is needed for then. I'm not sure if you can work more hours in term time and not in the holidays so it can average out to 16h a week though.

From the first Gingerbread page:

"Hours of work

You can place some restrictions on the hours you work and the type of job that you will accept:

If you have a child under the age of 16, you can limit the hours you work to take account of your caring responsibilities. You must be available to work as many hours as your caring responsibilities allow and for at least 16 hours a week
If you have a child under the age of 13, you can limit your working hours to your child’s usual school hours. You must still be available to work at least 16 hours a week and may be required to use childcare to cover your travel time to work and school holidays."

Yshara Tue 23-Oct-12 09:44:25

The working and finding a job is not an issue as i have worked up until my second son and with my first son i worked full time and had childcare for him. I don't want that for my youngest. The issue's i have is, it seems all my rights are being taken away from me and the way people are being treated. I don't think parents with children should be targeted the same way as young/older people who have no children ect.

jellybeans Tue 23-Oct-12 09:45:50

I think it is wrong too and hate the way this gov treats lone parents. Could you specify 9 30 till 2 30. That's 25 hrs a week so more then the Minimum 16. Or otherwise two full or long day shifts and just use after school clubs for two days. That's what I would do. Not ideal if you don't want to use childcare but not as bad as all week not being able to drop them off. If you agree to the shop I would say you will get there asap but it may not be 9. See if they compromise. Don't see why they won't if you are a volunteer not employee.

schools are excellent places to work. dinner lady, etc., have you tried the school?

jellybeans Tue 23-Oct-12 09:48:04

I would feel the same as you to be honest.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 09:50:13

I know it doesn't help you much but I would expect a challenge to the 'must be available 9-3' rule sometime soon - they can't say on one hand that you can restrict your hours due to childcare (which is reasonable, to my mind) and then on the other say that you have to be available for work during the very time that you're dropping your son off at school.

You used to be able, until recently, to say that you could work 9.30-2.30, or even 10-2, which still gives you more than 16 hours/week. The fact that there are very few jobs out there with those hours just makes it all the more ludicrous to be putting single parents on JSA at all but that's this govt for you.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Tue 23-Oct-12 09:52:18

Oh yes, your rights. Of course, poor you. hmm

Portofino Tue 23-Oct-12 09:52:18

I have a child - I have to work to support her. I have to use childcare. Why should anyone else expect to be treated differently? This really annoys me. If you can't FIND a job, then fair enough - but I think it is totally unacceptable to complain about working just because you prefer to be at home.

LFCisTarkaDahl Tue 23-Oct-12 09:54:17

Can I just ask why your youngest is different from your oldest? Is there a reason why working during school hours (or getting him there for 9) is a specific problem? confused

Genuine question.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 09:54:40

I actually think the govt is getting a pretty good deal out of single parents who stay at home - it costs much more in tax credits and housing benefit when they are working; they're raising the next generation for not very much money at all.

Portofino Tue 23-Oct-12 09:57:38

Wallinson - but isn't that an assumption that all single parents have low incomes?

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 09:59:51

jellybeans - being late for a work placement isn't the answer. Can't remember the exact language of the regulations, but if you lose a placement due to your own misconduct (which being late is) then your benefits can be stopped for 13 weeks. You really can't fuck around with these people - they are sanctioning left right and centre at the moment.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:01:33

Yes portofino, but most do. Can't remember the statistics but it's the case that they make up a disproportionate amount of the 'working poor'.

Yshara Tue 23-Oct-12 10:03:35

To answer some of your questions and yes people can make silly comments about "Oh yes, your rights. Of course, poor you" Clearly have no idea. And i'm guessing not many people are trying to find work at the moment.
When i put my oldest into childcare it was rubbish. He came home dirty and smelly. And these people are vetted out? Well meant to be anyway. In the end i went with a friend who was a childminder who i could trust. I am not willing to put my youngest thru all that as he really wouldn't cope. All kids are not the same.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:05:58

Yshara - have you contacted the CAB? They would be able to help with what the joke centre can/can't do re this work placement. Have to say that it sounds most unreasonable for either you or the DSS to be paying for childcare for a job that gives you £70/week. Unreasonable for you because clearly you don't have the income to support it, and unreasonable for the DSS because that's public money going to shore up an employer's running costs.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:06:50

This whole 'work placement' thing is a total con anyway - if there is work that needs doing, pay someone to do it ffs.

Yshara sorry but the "I tried nurseries and it was crap so I'm going to stay at home for my second" doesn't wash. The answer to find alternative, better , childcare, not to decide that all childcare is rubbish.

I would love to say oh my DS couldn't cope with nursery, and thinking back to when he started as a baby, I'd have happily walked away from nursery with him, but we'd have lost our house. These are the things that working parents have to do - you will have to use childcare, so start researching other, good, childcare. Are there any childminders who collect from your DS's school? Have any nurseries opened more recently?

Portofino Tue 23-Oct-12 10:16:04

But your youngest is 6 so doesn't need a nursery. Surely he will be at school all day?

flowery Tue 23-Oct-12 10:19:34

"with my first son i worked full time and had childcare for him. I don't want that for my youngest"

If someone is in the lucky position that they can afford to pay the bills without working full time and/or using childcare, then they can make that decision.

Not everyone is in the fortunate position to have the luxury of deciding they'd rather not work full time/rather not use childcare. Most people have to work to pay the bills.

No one has the right not to work, surely?

Don't know why I'm allowing myself to get drawn in tbh.

jellybeans Tue 23-Oct-12 10:21:15

Wallison, I meant to arrange with job centre to go in at 9 30am. See if they will agree to it. It would still be more then 16 hrs a week and they may accept as a starting point. I don't agree that just because some mums work lone parents should have to. They should be supported to work when able and ready when have a small child. I understand OP with childcare also. My oldest DC was in full time childcare and I didn't want it for my other DC. But it was only after staying home I realised the difference. Of course everyone is different and for some staying home wouldn't be best.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:24:51

I don't think Yshara was looking for a load of snippy comments about 'I have to go down a salt mine and you have an easy life with your £71/week' but she seems to have got them anyway. Does anyone have any actual advice about the problems she is facing ie this work placement and the changes to her JSA agreement?

Actually, Yshara, thinking about that second problem (the changes to hours you are available to work) although it makes no sense in terms of why you can restrict your hours, in practice there aren't that many jobs that are 9-3 so I would doubt you'd ever be put in that position practically, but it really isn't reasonable and I can see why it would make you jumpy with them shifting things around for you.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:28:10

jellybeans - yes, that's a good suggestion I think (agreeing a 9.30 start). I'm still boggling at the idea of anyone - whether Yshara or the DSS - paying for childcare for an unpaid work placement - seems bonkers to me.

MrsjREwing Tue 23-Oct-12 10:28:16

Ten minutes isn't enough time to get between a lot of jobs and schools, like others I think 930 to 230 term time sounds more sensible.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 10:30:39

Yes, they used to allow you to specify that, MrsjRE, but they've changed it recently. It's bonkers but I guess if you've set your stall out as being 'tough on lone parents' then you have to squeeze them somehow.

The main issue I would have for this is working for £70 a week.

If there is a job to be done then why isnt she entitled to NMW?

Why are we still enabling profits for business while people are treated like slaves? Its absolutely ridiculous.

And do you know how hard it is to find a job which fits around school hours. The whole system is utter bollocks.

OP, go to CAB and get legal advice!

MrsjREwing Tue 23-Oct-12 10:50:32

I hate the idea too of Starbucks etc having slave labour.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 11:54:13

Oh it's just awful, the whole thing - like I say, if they've got capacity for an unpaid placement, they've got capacity for an employee.

And half of these so-called 'modern apprenticeships' are really just another attempt for employers to dodge the minimum wage. Do you really need to spend a year learning how to work in a sandwich bar?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 13:22:57

Sorting out childcare isn't always that easy (to those saying op should just find some). Next year when my youngest starts full time school my options will be either the childminder who i caught being rough and aggressive with my dc (i was so stunned i didn't even say anything to my shame) or one of the other childminders who pick up from the school. There is one who is really hard and has loads of kids trailing after her or getting left behind or the others who unfortunately are friends with the one who was aggressive with my dc, and so hang out at her house with their charges! I do not want my child going to her house!

Or there is the local after school club which is chaotic, not very supervised and has the big kids running riot and the little ones getting knocked and squashed all over the place. They are also grumpy and snappy with the kids when they pick them up from school.

I find usually that the people who are critical of parents not working and come out with the "there's loads of jobs and childcare options out there", are the ones who have free loving childcare from relations and so because of this were able to keep their jobs from prechildren days. Not a clue about the realities for everyone else. I even know one who does shifts and her mum looks after the kids, she slags off people who don't work but refuses to see that arranging childcare to cover shifts is bloody hard so she is lucky. Or that not everyone can earn enough to cover the cost of it.

Yshara Tue 23-Oct-12 13:23:15

Think some people are clearly missing the point. And some people think they are better than everyone because they have a job and people around to support them. Well some people don't and for all the little haters who keep saying "Get a job"..Maybe they would like to help out and find people jobs and see how easy it really is. Maybe they should go and work in a shop full time for £70 per wk.
I didn't once say i don't want to work..All i said was i find it very off that people are getting focred in to doing stuff that they don't want to. If i only want to work in school hrs then it is my right to do that. Not have some pen pusher saying other wise. o.O

Vagaceratops Tue 23-Oct-12 13:30:25

He wouldnt be able to cope with childcare at 6 - so we are talking an Out of school club?

Does he have SN?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 13:32:34

Oh, or the childminder who i saw dealing with a stroppy toddler shouting at him in the street and calling him a little bugger and who appeared to be taking the tantrum personally. Flags went up there.

AndBingoWasHisNameOh Tue 23-Oct-12 13:46:03

Ooh your rights again. hmm You're very big on them OP. I am very aware of the job market and know it isn't easy. And I have no family help. But to keep banging on about your rights when you are supported by the state is showing a real attitude of entitlement. Unless your child has SN then given he is 6 years rather than 6 months personally I think it unreasonable to refuse to work because he'd have to be dropped at school by a childminder.

Fwiw I'm no fan of the workfare schemes and think they are a disgrace in many cases.

flowery Tue 23-Oct-12 13:51:28

"If i only want to work in school hrs then it is my right to do that"

Indeed. It's everyone's right to work part time if they want to and can find a job for the hours they want. Just as it's everyone's right not to work at all if they prefer that.

It's not everyone's right to decide they prefer to work part time then expect the state to make up the difference. Benefits are a safety net for those who need them and genuinely can't find work, not for those who prefer not to use a childminder.

I really must leave this thread alone and not allow entitled people to irritate me in this way, life's way too short.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Oct-12 13:53:43

I think work placement is a major con, it's allowing big businesses to get around paying the NMW, which is low already.

BUT unless your child has SN, there's no real reason a 6-year-old can't cope with childcare.

jellybeans Tue 23-Oct-12 13:57:37

fuckadoodlepoopoo I agree with your posts. So many people have relatives free to do childcare at the drop of a hat and have no idea. My friend recently got a job and I asked what the hours were. She said she wasn't sure but that was ok as 'her mum would just have em whenever'. She didn't have to consider the hours look for good childcare etc. Out of about 12 local childminders I would leave my DC with 3. Many are just not good with kids or snappy at them. Also they have loads trailing inches from the road or leave them asleep outside shops and toddler groups. The 3 good ones are great and rather than chat to other minders at groups they spend time with mindees and obviously love the job and looking after kids. Why should a child have to be deprived of a loving carer just because the other parent cleared off? Hardly seems fair. Also it is cheaper for lone parents on low wages to stay home rather than pay tax credits and childcare. So why not let them stay home till kids at high school. In any case 70 percent would be working already by then looking at figures. Those who don't may have good reasons.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 14:11:22

Jelly. I tried to do a few weeks temp work a while ago to get me back out there and keep my skills up to scratch. It was so hard to find childcare! There was nothing for temporary help! In the end i couldn't do it. sad

AllDirections Tue 23-Oct-12 14:18:16

There is only one way to stop the job centre make you go for jobs that you don't want to do and that's to find a job that you do want to do (want being very subjective!!)

I have quite significant (and mostly invisible) health problems and I have to stay one step ahead of the job centre. I'd always worked until I lost my job last year but I was able to claim income support. I was fortunate enough to get some more work in September which is just as well as my youngest DD is now 5. It's worrying that I could be made to do more hours than I can cope with or work that I'm not physically able to do. So I need to keep myself in work that I know I can do so that this doesn't happen.

Most of my friends (married or single parents) work and use childcare. There are the lucky few who have family to do the childcare but most don't.

OP you need to be looking at ways that you can support your own family in the long term and work towards that. Gone are the days when people had the right to live on benefits till their children went to secondary school. You need to do whatever it takes to keep yourself off those jobfare programs.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 14:27:22

I agree that childcare can be very variable. I would no more leave my son in the after-school club at his school than let him be raised by wolves, tbh.

AllDirections Tue 23-Oct-12 14:39:04

That afterschool provision must be horrendous Wallinson

I'm lucky that childcare seems to be quite good where I live though I have has some bad experiences in the past

OddBoots Tue 23-Oct-12 15:23:31

Are those who are witnessing unacceptable behaviour in child care reporting it to ofsted? I hope so.

One of the employment options is to become a child minder yourself, I know it isn't for everyone but is is a very good way of getting to care for your children all year round.

I think you must be having a nightmare, really sorry.

It is a nightmare tring to find any job, let alone one that is term time / during school hours and/or you earn enough to cover wrap around child care for two kids.

Was made redundant in May this year. I am a teacher looking for work and have applied for the school jobs you mention - cleaning, meal supervisors, teaching assistants, teaching etc etc. There were over 200 applicants for the last job I applied for. I am either over qualified or lack experience in that particular field. It is very very hard and it is the reason we have only one child instead of the three we would like. Now that IS NOT in anyway dig at those with more kids - it just makes me sad sometimes.

it is totalyl different than when i was last unemployed 7 years ago it was much much easier. Partly because we didn;t have our DD but mainly becuase the job market, job centre, benefits and employment opportunities are much harder. If you get enterpirsing, sell things on ebay, make things, set up little buisnesses etc - there are hundreds of other desperate people doing examctly the same. Last time I was unemployed there were literally 10 s of local music teacher jobs.... there have been none in the 60 mile radius since June now.

i also think that there is a lack of understanding that kids need to be taken and picked up at schol so really hours can only be 9.30 - 2.30 realistaclly without childcare.

Best of luck OP

domesticgodless Tue 23-Oct-12 15:46:55

what rubbish the workfare scheme truly is. Perhaps if the OP were being trained in skills she may not have already, or given a proper apprenticeship which would improve her prospects, she would feel differently. But ordering her to sweep floors in Poundland is utterly unjustifiable imho.

State-sponsored slave labour for corporations who already avoid so much tax it would pay the lone-parent benefit bill for decades if not centuries!

Yshara Tue 23-Oct-12 19:44:39

I'm not being fussy what job i do..Being made to work in a chairty shop sorting clothes out of bags,steaming them and putting them on hangers for 25
hrs per week on a job replacement..And for all of £70 a week..Really how many people would be happy to do that??
I have spoken to my son and he is clearly not happy about the fact that some childcare might be needed..And really i don't blame him with the area we live in. I even know people who are having more babies just to stop all the hassle.
At least i am not one of those.
I have applied for many jobs in shops and so on..Who is the employer going to go for? Someone over 40 and wants to work part time.. Or a young kid just out of school.
Some people on this forum are really clueless..And never been in the same situation..Judging people is not really a good thing.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 19:58:40

I know people who are having more babies for exactly the same reason, Yshara. I think it's what they call the law of unintended consequences. It would be funny - the Daily Hate and all of that ilk calling for a tougher stance on single parent scroungers etc just leading to even more 'undesirables' being born as the birth rate soars amongst the undeserving poor while the poor old put-upon middle class are outbred - if the policies weren't so fucking stupid, short-sighted, mean, nasty and vindictive.

OddBoots Tue 23-Oct-12 20:06:50

I fear with the cap on benefits coming in those who are having more children to avoid work will find things getting tighter for them.

As long as you didn't need childcare for the £70pw (is that including housing benefit etc or just the JSA btw?) the charity shop work sounds good, at least society benefits and kit keeps your skills fresh. What's the problem with it? I've worked in a few charity shops and it's pretty easy work.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 20:18:03

You don't really 'fear' things will be tighter for 'them' though, do you?

Portofino Tue 23-Oct-12 20:18:53

I don't judge. I just face the reality that you cannot dictate that you can only work PT when you have children to support. If you were asking for advice on how to manage that that is one thing. You are basically saying that you have 2 children in FT school but are asking about your RIGHTS to only work between 9.30 and 2.30.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Oct-12 20:20:15

'I'm not being fussy what job i do..Being made to work in a chairty shop sorting clothes out of bags,steaming them and putting them on hangers for 25
hrs per week on a job replacement..And for all of £70 a week..Really how many people would be happy to do that??'

I would be if I'd been out of work for a long time? I do not agree with workfare for for-profit businesses like Poundland or Tesco. But I see nothing wrong with your doing 25 hours of work/week for a charity in return for benefits.

You had plenty of time to take advantage of schemes that used to be in place to get a decent job and move to a better area before these measures came in.

OddBoots Tue 23-Oct-12 20:21:33

I do for the sake of their children, both directly because of the situation they will be in and because they have at least one parent who is using them rather than wanting them. I speak specifically of children born because they have a parent who doesn't want to go out to work mind, not any others, so bears no relevance to the OP.

expatinscotland Tue 23-Oct-12 20:24:07

You haven't been in work for a while, charity shop work gives you the chance to get back into the routine and a good reference.

Because you need to face facts: this government is not going to let you not work till your son gets to high school.

Anyone with a grain of sense could see that the second those Tories got into no. 10.

Portofino Tue 23-Oct-12 20:28:49

i am totally with expat in that no one should be forced to work for profit making companies eg Tesco. But I DO agree with working for Charities,

expatinscotland Tue 23-Oct-12 20:30:39

And I'd be happy to do that if I'd been out of work a long time.

Again, I disagree completely with workfare for any for-profit business, but it's fine for charities.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 20:43:01

Actually, I should think that for most charities the last thing they would want is volunteers being foisted upon them who are only there on pain of losing their benefit. It is difficult enough to run things - ie to get motivated committed people to work for no money - as it is, without this extra aspect of people only doing it because they are forced to. It is no way to run anything.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Tue 23-Oct-12 20:45:25

Wallison. I was wondering about the effects on the charities as well. It would be a lot for them to take on. Too much probably.

Wallison Tue 23-Oct-12 20:50:37

There is quite an art to recruiting and retaining volunteers - it's very different to using paid employees. Thinking about the line of work that I volunteer in, it is actually quite demanding and emotionally draining at times; certainly you would find it unbearable if it were not something that you really wanted to do. I don't see how the charity I work for could function if they had people there who didn't want to be there - there is already far too much work shared between those of us that do - there just isn't any room for slack. If anything, charities have even fewer resources to fall back on in terms of employees who are not engaged with their work than commercial enterprises do.

jellybeans Tue 23-Oct-12 21:49:29

I have a lone parent friend who works in charity shops as well as helping in school much of the week school hours. This fits in with her health problems and caring for two kids. The job centre is trying to force her into jobs which don't fit school hours and are miles away. Why can't she remain doing voluntary. It is certainly cheaper then the gov paying her tax credits and childcare too. I think lone parents should be able to volunteer rather than work for pittance and that way they can fit round the kids if they are ill etc.

Rockchick1984 Wed 24-Oct-12 11:41:46

OP you do have a choice not to do the £70 per week work though. You either do it and put your son in childcare, or you don't do it and lose your benefits, or you go out and get any job you can. My DH was made redundant, he ended up in a call centre doing cold calling. It was horrible, but ultimately it was a job and we had some money coming in. Why should the government fund your parenting choices indefinitely? I would love it if me and DH could give up work an raise our son together but we wouldnt expect someone else to pay for it, particularly once hes in school all day!

If an after school club is so bad, complain to OFSTEAD not to an Internet forum!

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 24-Oct-12 13:01:02

How will complaining to ofsted help NOW!? It won't.

Rockchick1984 Wed 24-Oct-12 13:09:01

I mean complain at the time, otherwise if no one says anything then nothing will change!

Wallison Wed 24-Oct-12 13:25:29

jellybeans, I agree with you, especially about the childcare. Tax credits have been a massive boon to lone parents, and it's certainly easier now than it was before. However, what this provision together with the new rules on being shifted to JSA means in effect is that there is a whole generation of children being shunted off into childcare at the state's expense. It seems to me to be a massive social experiment, particularly given that bringing up children on your own is completely different to bringing them up in a couple. When you are on your own, you are everything to your kids - you are the only parent that they have. Taking this away from children is a big step, and not one that all lone parents feel comfortable taking, and five really is quite young. The one thing that tax credits have got right in this regard is to my mind the way that they support part-time working although as far as I can make out this will disappear with the introduction of Universal Credit, which I think is a great shame.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 24-Oct-12 13:29:44

Can you complain if your child hasn't actually been there? I've seen an attitude from the staff towards the children which i don't like and so i wouldn't send them there, plus the terrible reputation and how others who've kids have been there took their kids out because of the lack of supervision. So i haven't had to withdraw my child due to any of it but it would stop me sending my child there in the first place. Would ofsted be interested in my complaint?

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 24-Oct-12 13:32:08

I agree wallison.

I can understand people not wanting to support lone parents via benefits but i also understand a single persons reluctance to put their child in childcare. The lack of attention to the child's emotional needs concerns me and i think could be a ticking time bomb.

Wallison Wed 24-Oct-12 14:38:55

It concerns me too. One other thing I have just thought of is that, while of course some parents separate amicably, there are children growing up in households headed by a lone parent where there has been domestic abuse, or drug or alcohol problems or even prison sentences. And even where the split is managed as well as it can be, children still have to come to terms with a parent not being around much any more, or not being around at all, with a knock-on effect of not seeing one side of their family as much as other children do. Given this, I don't think it's such a big ask for parents to want to give their children stability and not put them into childcare, especially childcare which might be of variable quality. Like I said, five is very young to be dealing with all of this and then also dealing with being in childcare and away from the parent who is the only stability that they have.

Yshara Wed 24-Oct-12 14:41:57

Rockchick1984 did i say i wanted to stay on benefit indefinitely?? Did i say i was not looking for a job? Think people only read what they want..Like "Single mum on benefits" Wish people would give some general advice instead of keep sticking the boot in.

But thanks to all the other people who seems to understand. smile

fuckadoodlepoopoo Wed 24-Oct-12 14:48:08

Wallison. I agree. If me and my husband split up i think the worst thing for my children emotionally would be me going out to work full time and putting them in childcare. They need a parents attention and love if possible at times like that.

Yshara Wed 24-Oct-12 14:50:27

As for childcare as a mother and knows her son better than anyone else. Also having a few little talk's with him..I know personally putting him in any childcare would not benefit either of us. Not saying when he is older but for now it would do more harm than good.
As for the school clubs..Yes there is one..And i'm sure it is a good one..But the area i am living in..Well when you got parents fighting at the school gate..Would you like to leave your child there even longer than the normal school hrs.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 18:23:18

How long have you been single?

The over-5 thing isn't a new rule.

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 19:04:07

I know it is shit, but your focus has to be on supporting your children financially and improving your skills. Kids are adaptable. If you present it in the right way, he will be able to cope. You can't opt out any longer. The present govt's ethos is to get people who can work, working. Even if Labour got back in tomorrow, I don't believe this would change much.

jellybeans Fri 26-Oct-12 19:29:51

I agree Wallison. I also think how tired I am as a SAHM at times and I have DH helping when he is off work and doing household stuff etc. But my lone parent friend does everything all the time. That is a full time job in itself.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 20:23:43

Portofino, the OP has said that she is applying for jobs but that she doesn't want to apply for jobs that mean her children will be in childcare. She doesn't want to not work at all; she just wants to be able to find a job that means that she doesn't have to shell out for childcare on one income and put her children into childcare when they are not ready for it. I think that is a reasonable stance.

Jellybeans, yes, it is different raising children on your own. There is no-one there to take up the slack. No matter if you're ill, or tired, or you have stuff you need to do, you are the only one who can look after them and also do everything required to keep your household functioning - if you leave it, it won't get done eventually, or even at all.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 20:29:17

Thing is, Wallison, is the government can and will sanction her benefits for this.

Things have changed, and she's going to have to find that job during school hours or do what they tell her to do or they will sanction the benefits.

That's how it is and, 'My 6-year-old doesn't want to go to childcare' isn't going to wash.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 20:33:43

The govt will sanction her benefits if they don't think she is doing enough to find work. As a lone parent, she is allowed to specify that she can only work during school hours. What has changed is that their definition of 'school hours' has moved from for eg 9.30-2.30 or even 10-2 to 9-3 which obviously doesn't allow you to drop a child off at school and then go on to work. It's pretty fucking tight as well, because as a lone parent you are likely paying for every minute of childcare you have (no partner to do handovers or swap shifts etc) so even if you need just 15 mins or whatever you will pay through the nose for it. Like I said though, although it is unfair and completely goes against allowing people to limit their availability for work due to childcare, there are in practice very few jobs that are 9-3 anyway.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 20:36:13

And if someone decides that it's not in the best interests of their child to go into childcare, then they should be able to make that decision. You or I have no idea of the OP's circumstances, only that she is the primary carer for her children and that she has made a decision that she doesn't want to use childcare. That's good enough for me and actually it's good enough for the govt as well, barring this new rule about the 'must be available 9-3' thing.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 20:38:15

But from the sounds of it, Wallison, it isn't good enough for the government and it sounds like she's being put onto a work placement in a charity shop. They can sanction you for not participating in that.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 20:44:46

Well, that's the thing about this govt. They're all so interested in being 'tough on scroungers' that they disregard the fact that people like the OP, who by the sounds of it has stuck to her jobseeker's agreement and is looking for work, haven't actually done anything wrong but they seek to penalise them anyway. I don't think that is fair or acceptable. She isn't asking for special favours or anything else that is so outrageous - just to be able to work without putting her kids into childcare. Unforch, because there are now thousands of parents being forced onto JSA and all chasing the same few part-time jobs, it's more difficult to find work. But that isn't the OP's fault. And I think it very unfair that she should have to find childcare for doing work that isn't paid and OP I suggest again that you get in touch with your local CAB about that.

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 21:31:16

But the reality is, if you need to work - which OP does - some form of childcare is necessary. It is no longer acceptable to claim benefits because you "prefer" to be at home. That is not me making a moral judgement on it, tis just the facts. I had to go back to work when dd was 5 months old as I was the main wage earner and the bills needed paying. I would have loved to have stayed home. it was just not an option.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 21:37:13

Some form of childcare has only become necessary because of this 9-3 rule. And even with it, she isn't obliged to work full-time. I mean, even the DSS don't expect her to. It doesn't much matter what you or anyone else did although I will point out that if you wanted to have the freedom to not work when your kid was 5 months old, you could just have given up your house and rented somewhere and lived off benefits, since it's all so cushty.

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 21:41:07

And it has been ever thus, for working class women. I have done my family tree back to 1500. There is not a generation in my family where the woman did not work - charwomen, market gardening, bar running, glove making, nursing etc etc. Why do we get to say these days that my child needs me - I cannot work, ?

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 21:47:02

Wallison, but I had a job - I did not need benefits. Why should I choose to go on benefits rather than work? I never said it was cushty. I said OP is in the situation where she needs to work to support her children. Is that bad?

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 21:49:07

Why do people have this view that they should not/cannot work to support their kids? I will never understand it. The feckless men who bugger off and never pay a penny and the women who make endless excuses about wanting to be at home.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Oct-12 21:49:34

No, they don't, Wallison, but if she's being put on a placement then she has to do it or be sanctioned. She was probably moved to JSA a year ago after the child turned 5.

There was time, to get training, to find work and move out of the shite area.

But we all knew the new rules. In that situation, knowing there's a time limit on it all and then you face work placement, wouldn't it have bee prudent to re-train so the school hours job was more obtainable, rather than banging on about rights?

Because this government is Tory. They've been in power for over 2 years and we all know what they are like.

CelticPromise Fri 26-Oct-12 21:51:21

I don't think it's reasonable to ask you to pay for childcare to do workfare. Workfare is a disgrace all round. But I don't think it's unreasonable to ask you to consider ft work. But then IME the job centre won't be the best place to find work anyway, and t you'll do better looking yourself for something that suits.

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 21:52:02

I do GET the prohibitive cost of childcare by the way - I just get cross that you hear endless excuses and see no effort.

Wallison Fri 26-Oct-12 21:53:22

Look, I feel a bit uncomfortable about this discussion now because it seems like I'm speaking for the OP who I'm sure is more than capable of fighting her corner. But she isn't saying that she doesn't want to work; just that she doesn't want to use childcare because it's not in the best interests of her child. I don't think that is unreasonable, and the fact that one person or 100 people you know do it doesn't really matter a bean.

Portofino Fri 26-Oct-12 22:57:15

And my point is sometimes you HAVE to use childcare in order to feed your children.

thekidsrule Sun 28-Oct-12 23:36:14

i would love it if me and DH could give up work an raise our son together but we wouldnt expect someone else to pay for it, particularly once hes in school all day!

typical response from a two parent household

op i hope you manage to find something thats suitable for you and your family

Wallison Mon 29-Oct-12 10:37:17

> I do GET the prohibitive cost of childcare by the way

If you're raising kids as part of a couple, I don't think you do. Lone parents, unless they are lucky enough to have grandparents on hand do help them out, have to pay for every single bit of childcare they access. No swapping shifts, no juggling things around, no other person who can take two weeks off in the holidays, nothing. And with the changes to tax credits they are getting even less of a contribution towards that. And the OP has two kids to pay childcare for.

OP, I echo what thekidsrule says and hope you get something that you are able to do in practical terms. I know that dealing with the job centre is stressful and all the time you are worried about losing you benefits - it's horrid.

SugarMouse1 Thu 13-Dec-12 00:08:53

OP- would the job centre allow you to busk?

Then you can pick your own hours! Perfect!
You could even take your children with you to do it at weekends. And if you can't play an instrument, you could just dance instead.

Failing that, you could become a chatline operator while your children are asleep in bed. No childcare needed!

As you have slagged off all the childminders you know AND the after-school club, why don't you just set yourself up as a childminder? You sound like someone who nothing is ever good enough for, tbh.

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