So, how many Mumsnetters "Aren't working enough"?

(136 Posts)

Guardian article here

First the weak, the sick and the disabled. Now people who work.

The next plan for Universal credit is to look at people who get Working Tax credit and assess whether they are working enough. If they're classed as such, they will need to find extra hours or they'll have their benefits cut.

Considering that a lot of low paid work is done by women, is it becoming a feminist issue?

78bunion Fri 13-Sep-13 09:31:21

Not much difference between taking the benefits to which you're entitled and setting your pension payments against tax and using your annual tax free allowance. The system has to change not the people choosing to structure their lives around a system which is set up in a certain way. However I would caution those who do fewer hours by choice to be with children more that longer term it tends not to pay off so although it may feel financially better off at present over a long career it may not be the best choice.

MadameLeBean Fri 13-Sep-13 09:46:29

Not crazy at all. They need to design a system with the right incentives; there is no point expecting people to choose a worse quality of life for the sake of feeling "morally superior".

Viviennemary Fri 13-Sep-13 13:04:05

I don't care how few or how many hours people work. That's their business. But can't expect taxpayers to subsidise their life choices.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 13-Sep-13 13:08:24

I agree the system has to change, bit isn't that what the government are trying to do? Yet they are getting a huge amount of criticism for the benefit reforms that they are putting through. They aren't doing everything perfectly, but then they never will do everything perfectly in everyone's minds.

I think they need to scrap tax credits completely. Support for those with children should only be given through free childcare and child benefit, which is enough to help but not to raise a child on. That way people will be discouraged from having children if they don't work, and they will have no reason not to return to work after maternity leave unless they are independently wealthy or have one partner earning a very high wage.

There is an unfortunate need for working tax credits, but I think they should be paid through employers, and employers should be obliged to do the admin for it if they want to employ anyone on a low wage. That way it would be easier to adjust the benefit payments if an employee is able to do overtime at certain times, and it would get the country out of this bizarre system where the majority claim benefits.

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 15:10:32

Agree with Chunderella’s point. A family being able to choose for one parent to work part time (which can be for a myriad of justifiable reasons, which the DWP has no idea how they will determine) and exist at a basic level, is entirely reasonable. The fact that it doesn’t is the issue. Clearly a basic living should mean just that. For two people working lots of hours and earning good wages to be merited with little more than a basic existence is what the real issue is and where the discontent lies.

Perhaps we are better off looking at why the cost of living is so outrageous and doing something about that. Starting with the cost of housing.

And Viviennemary, are you saying you don't care how many hours people work (and are tax payers) but if it is not enough for a basic living, yet they are held by contracts which don't allow them to work in addition, you think that's their look out?

Theimpossiblegirl Fri 13-Sep-13 15:53:37

As tax payers, surely we are subsidising everyone's life choices. Schools, hospitals, roads, refuse collection etc. etc. Isn't that what a civilised society does?

IMO if two people are both working full time and struggling to keep their heads above water (us and most people we know at the moment) it is the system that needs to change. We can't work more hours, we can't earn more, we need to live above just existing or what's the point?.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 13-Sep-13 16:20:28

The point there TheImpossible, is where you say 'as taxpayers'.

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 17:30:55

I agree with your free childcare ideas broken, and also for employers to take more responsibility around paying low wages. But, when you say:

they will have no reason not to return to work after maternity leave unless they are independently wealthy or have one partner earning a very high wage.

Do you mean full, or part-time? Because I think it's the part-time bit the co-allition are having a dig at here, isn't it? And where the DWP will have most difficulty, along with the free-lancers, shift workers and other self-employed folk (particularly seasonal workers) and those with generally fluctuating income, who present an even more interesting quandary.

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 17:39:28

Blimey what an error! That should say:

I agree with your free childcare ideas broken, and also for employers to take more responsibility around paying low wages but not in isolation

Letsadmitit Fri 13-Sep-13 17:40:04

Wellington Brokensunglasses, would that apply to widows and divorcees who do not receive any child maintenance or should w ask thm to drown their kids?

PharaohHound Fri 13-Sep-13 17:47:07

I'm a LP and intend to work part time until I pack my youngest off to Uni.

Oh, for goodness sake.

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 17:59:01

Would you like to also respond to the other points made in the same post, namely:

I was the child of a LP who worked full time. Needless to say I never made it to uni (despite being bright) as I was too busy being bullied or self harming until mum got home to pick up the pieces at 6pm. I'm certain all the tax my mum paid went towards my considerable CAHMS costs. She is equally worried that I will be pushed to work full time and her grand children will suffer and history will repeat itself.

or just cherry pick any other points in isolation to make your point, which was what exactly?

BrokenSunglasses Fri 13-Sep-13 18:10:02

Pizza, that depends on what each individual earns.

If someone's work is worth enough that they can afford to live while only working part time, then they should absolutely be able to work part time. If they can't earn enough to live on by working part time then they will have to work full time, and full time work should pay enough to live on, even if it has to be subsidised by the government through the employer.

Letsadmitit, that's really a different thing. Children of people who have died that only have one parent left should of course get government support, as well as free childcare to enable the surviving parent to work. That is exactly the type of situation the welfare state should exist for, not for people who just fancy working part time.

Non resident parents are another matter. We need a CSA that is fit for purpose, that has the power to make parents pay for the children they created. And if NRPs refuse to pay, then the state will have to give money to the RP if they need it after working full time. Any money that the state gives to lone parents on behalf of the other parent should be the same as any other debt. Legally enforceable with the threat of bankruptcy if you don't pay. And the debt should remain until it's paid off, even if that means taking it from their estate when they are dead.

expatinscotland Fri 13-Sep-13 18:22:25

Yet nearly all the new job creation is zero hours contracts, part-time, seasonal/temp.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 13-Sep-13 18:37:40

Only in the lowest paid jobs expat. There are loads of full time jobs, they just aren't for unskilled manual work.

expatinscotland Fri 13-Sep-13 18:43:04

'Only in the lowest paid jobs expat.'

Not true at all. Many, many quite skilled jobs in areas like IT and healthcare are now temp/agency, 'PRN' (per request needed, in other words, zero hours).

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 18:57:39

I kind of get what you are saying Broken, but even the DWP admits some need to work part-time,and they've no idea how to work that out:

Not all of those will be forced into jobcentres, with individuals with caring responsibilities or other constraints preventing them taking on full-time work highly likely to be excluded.

The DWP said: "There isn't any real clear, definite plan as to how this [part] would work."

Which brings me back to looking at why both a full and a part time wage together, even at the lowest end are not enough. Do you accept that if the cost of living was less, then people wouldn't need to lean on the state as much?

Viviennemary Fri 13-Sep-13 19:18:47

I don't agree with zero hour contracts and think they should be made illegal. I am objecting to people choosing to work part-time in the knowledge the state will top up their wages. And will not do extra hours because they will lose benefit.

I blame the labour government for all this. Though I voted for them. But won't again. This has encouraged firms to pay out ever lower wages and give people less hours.

ubik Fri 13-Sep-13 19:30:57

It's just empty platitudes - of course people want more hours. Whenever overtime is offered at work, people put in for it and there isn't enough to go round.

I work 20 hours which suits me, but I still may work 5 9-hr shifts consecutively - 45 hours. I am also required to be 'flexible' - basically on call 24/7.

I know many people who have 2/3 jobs on the go because they cannot get enough hours in one job.

ubik Fri 13-Sep-13 19:32:55

And TBH - why doesn't Cameron get his thumb out of his backside and start creating some jobs? Why is it always the fault of the low paid, and folk on benefits?

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 19:36:18

Not sure if we x posted there Vivienne.

I know some take the biscuit. But we have to be mindful of the genuine cases where people can only work part time, for whom these plans will be detrimental to.

Chunderella Fri 13-Sep-13 20:16:31

However many people any of us know who have chosen to work part time, there still aren't enough job vacancies for everyone to work full time. Even if everyone wanted to be full time, not everyone could be.

Expat I agree that there are a lot of quite skilled healthcare jobs that are PRN, but many of them still fall into the poorly paid bracket. For example there are people working as 'self employed' home carers who aren't paid for travel between jobs, so they end up earning less than NMW. A shocking dodge.

JoinYourPlayfellows Fri 13-Sep-13 20:23:23

"full time work should pay enough to live on, even if it has to be subsidised by the government through the employer."

Why the fuck should public money be used to subsidise companies to pay less than a living wage?

That's the real scandal here.

"Profit-making" companies paying dividends and massive salaries to executives who aren't paying their staff enough to live on.

When that particular piece of subsidy ends, then I'll start worrying about parents working part time so they can look after their children (i.e. work AND provide a useful social good to society)

dialpforpizza Fri 13-Sep-13 21:36:50

Well, quite.

grin

BrokenSunglasses Fri 13-Sep-13 21:41:57

Join, they already do it in the form of tax credits. It's unfortunate, but tax credits are a part of too many people's lives for them just to be taken away.

If employers were administering it, at least they would bear the cost of that.

I know that part time jobs cover many industries, but expat, you are coming across as if you believe the only jobs that are available are part time ones, and that simply isn't true.

Do you accept that if the cost of living was less, then people wouldn't need to lean on the state as much?

Of course I accept that. But to me it seems it's like a vicious circle that has to be broken somehow.

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