Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Universal Credit implications for long-term SAHMs??? Help please!

(803 Posts)
CSLewis Fri 01-Feb-13 09:39:21

Hi, I've just read the Mumsnet summary about Universal Credit, and read that parents of children aged 5-13 will be required to seek work during school hours, though I think those with a baby under one may be exempt.

Does anyone have any further details about this? It feels to me that a parent of young (primary-aged) children is being forced to return to the job market, regardless of whether they judge it to be in the best interests of their family hmm

Rockchick1984 Fri 01-Feb-13 12:38:25

I believe (although am not certain) that it's only for those on a very low household income eg currently eligible for working tax credits.

From my own perspective though as a SAHM who is in receipt of a small amount of tax credits I actually can't help but agree with the policy - you wouldn't need to be paying for childcare as its only within school hours, you have already had 5 years of subsidy at that point to stay at home with your children and in all honesty can't expect the government to indefinitely fund your choices - for me personally my DH is studying to hopefully earn more so I can stay at home longer, however if this is not possible then obviously I will expect to work once DS is in school!

Love to know where all of these school-hours jobs will appear from though hmm

StormyBrid Fri 01-Feb-13 13:08:03

What's worrying me is the four year gap there. "parents of children aged 5-13 will be required to seek work during school hours, though I think those with a baby under one may be exempt" - what about parents with children aged one to five? Are single parents, and both members of a couple, going to be obliged to jobsearch with a toddler in tow? And will they be exempt from workfare? There's a definite lack of concrete information out there at the moment

I have also read that as a parent you'll only be able to limit yourself to seeking jobs within school hours if you can prove that such jobs actually exist in your area. Although don't quote me on that, because hopefully that was a proposal that's since been scrapped (been reading a lot of late and they do change bits randomly so who knows?).

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 01-Feb-13 16:07:39

Women on maternity leave go back when their child is one if not before so its not unreasonable to put conditions on benefits where a child is over one.

SAHM's can continue to stay home if their household income allows, if they need to claim benefits to do so then quite rightly benefits dont pay for this luxury and they will be expected to work although only if the child is school aged.

It would have been nice to see the conditions applied from age one to make all mums equal rather than some having 9 months maternity pay and others getting state help for five years.

ineedaspartame Mon 04-Feb-13 21:32:49

it makes me sad how people come out and say that being a stay at home mum is a luxury. it shouldn't be. I am not blaming anyone individually because this train of thought is nailed into little girls heads from day 1. If a woman has children they should be and should be allowed to be her first priority. it seems that women's job commitments matter more in this day and age than her commitments as a mother. feminism has screwed us over. it is dissolving the family unit bit by bit. Daycare attendants cannot be trusted. At the end of the day you do not know who you are leaving your children with.

I would like to know this too as I am a stay at home Mum also. I will eat one small meal of toast a day or even eat from supermarket wheelie bins (they throw out some edible stuff) before I put my child into a daycare centre when she is under school age!

Sorry if I didn't answer your question but this has been troubling me recently. I would like to know that if my partner worked full time on a low paying job and I stayed home looking after our daughter what the implications would be.

SizzleSazz Mon 04-Feb-13 21:38:57

Ineed - if your family cannot support a SAHP then both need to work. My mum & dad both did and my DH and i both work. It is our family, our responsibility, not the State's.

It is a luxury in the sense that you need to have 'free cash' which you choose to spend on one parent staying at home rather than holidays/new car etc

ineedaspartame Mon 04-Feb-13 22:15:02

There are ways of getting around having to live on one wage. We never go on holiday, we don't drive and we live in a place with extremely cheap rent. If things got even more tight I would just eat less. I would also stop using the bus all together and I would walk everywhere. If a family cannot support the mother staying at home then they just have to cut down. I think we could all cut down somewhere in our lives.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 04-Feb-13 22:48:38

" If a family cannot support the mother staying at home then they just have to cut down"

When there are two adults in a household, both capable of earning a living, why should one of them just opt out and force the family to live in poverty?

amothersplaceisinthewrong Mon 04-Feb-13 22:53:13

The country is broke, it can't afford to subsidise stay at home parents or any other group any more.

Also I don't agree that the MOTHER should be the one who necessarily stays at home - nothing wrong with at stay at home father. But it is a lifestyle choice, and if you can't afford it, then both will have to work. Sad fact of life.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 04-Feb-13 22:57:19

OP - only if the staying at home is being propped up by tax credits currently.

HappyMummy - there is sufficient research to show the benefit of toddlers being cared for by one or other parent in the home environment to make enforced return to work by all except the reasonably well-off undesirable. Not to mention the enormous strain it would place upon the childcare system.

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 18:52:40

Men don't breastfeed from where I am standing, so a baby is better off with his/her mother for the time being. I don't believe in blurring gender roles.

stargirl1701 Tue 05-Feb-13 18:54:49

If you don't get any benefits then it won't affect you.

ineedaspartame Tue 05-Feb-13 18:55:15

Plus most people in the UK don't know what true poverty is. To them having to cut off sky and not have a car for a while is poverty. People must have more and more and more. To children having love and nurturing is more important than lots of material things. All my best childhood memories were free.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 21:19:34

Love and nurturing is all very well but kids need clothes, shoes, food to eat and so on. You might be able to survive foraging wheelie bins but it would be neglect to expect a child to do the same just because you think you can opt out of working for a living.

taketheribbon Thu 07-Feb-13 16:34:46

This is the government's way of stopping Working Tax Credit for couples.

If one of you is working and the other is either a SAHP or working very few hours, and you currently qualify for WTC, the new rules say that unless the SAHP either finds a job or increases his/her hours, no Universal Credit will be paid.

So the parent increases his/her hours or finds a job, and therefore the couple do not qualify for the working tax credit of Universal Credit anyway.

The government is quids in. Doesn't have to help out, either way.

I'm not entirely sure what the consequences of this are going to be yet - hard to predict - but one thing is certain, and that's that many more schools will have to provide 'wraparound care' and anyone thinking of setting up a holiday club to look after children during the school holidays would probably find themselves doing very nicely, thank you. Doctors surgeries will find that everyone wants appointments after school/work and many of the little local toddler groups will find themselves rather less well-attended since all the mums will be working and all the toddlers will be in daycare.

Hey ho. Bring down the price of houses and maybe then many of us could afford to live on one full-time salary. Alternatively, maybe employers could think about paying a liveable wage?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Feb-13 16:55:14

". Bring down the price of houses and maybe then many of us could afford to live on one full-time salary"

Hate to butt in on the sob-fest but some of us are lone parents who take great pride in the fact that we manage on one salary and raise happy, healthy kids at the same time. If we had the luxury of able-bodied partners, rest assured we'd be sending them out to work to supplement the family coffers, not encouraging them to sit about doing nothing! 'Staying at home' really isn't an option if you can't afford it and I don't see why, just because someone is part of a couple, that should cease to apply.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 17:06:48

It only applies if you're claiming benefits to stay at home.

It does seem silly to me, though. Forcing both parents to work full-time is going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of families , and surely having everyone's children brought up in nurseries can never be a good thing! I'm sure most nurseries and day care facilities do a great job, but what's the point of having children if you're only going to see them for an hour in the evenings before it's time to put them to bed?

I'm not sure if this will apply to my family at the moment, DP works full time and I work part time, and we're expecting a baby but not sure how much tax credits we'll be claiming when she's born. I'm on maternity leave currently from two jobs, and I'm only planning to go back to one of them because I don't have anyone who can take care of our daughter at weekends, but if I'm going to have to "sign on" every week and be forced to leave my job for one with more hours then I'll have to go back to both (As I understand it, a couple has to earn the equivalent of 60 hours at minimum wage between them to not be forced to look for more hours?).

I understand why the government has to do something like this, but surely it's better that people are in work, even if it is PT, and claiming tax credits, than out of work and claiming JSA, housing benefit, council tax benefit, free prescriptions, etc etc.

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 07-Feb-13 18:13:24

"whats the point of having children if you will only see them an hour before bed"

Firstly many parents work and see there children for far more than an hour a day and secondly the question could be turned around so say why have children that you cant afford without other tax payers assistance.

Nobody who is physically able to work should be able to chose not too if expecting the state to pay for that choice. Same goes for part time work, why should the state pay the extra because somebody doesnt fancy more hours or believes having children renders a person incapable of working.

Love to know where all of these school-hours jobs will appear from though

This.

There are already not enough jobs to go round. I'm not saying that the change isn't right, tax credits is a flawed system.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:10:56

HappyMummy okay, that sounded a lot worse than I meant it to. But I work in a nursery, and there are parents who drop their children off before 7am and pick them up at 6pm, and as these children are 6 months to 3 years old, I'm guessing they pretty much get home, give them their dinner and a bath and put them to bed. That's five days a week, and then if their parents works weekends too they'll be looked after by family or childminders then, too. Saying "What's the point..." was wrong of me, but I'm sure nobody sees this as an ideal situation! Some of them even send grandparents to pick the children up because they won't be there in time. I always wonder what they plan to do when they start school.

catladycourtney1 Thu 07-Feb-13 19:20:29

Also, if the plan is for all parents to work full time and therefore all children to be in nursery care, then we're going to need a lot more nursery nurses, not to mention actual nurseries because they're constantly shutting down due to rising costs. They're already talking about raising the child-to-staff-member ratio in nurseries, which can only lead to lower standards of care, and in a lot of places, staff are paid the bare minimum already. The reason a lot of parents don't work is because childcare would cost more than they would earn, but if the government wants to take tax credits (and therefore childcare vouchers) away too, then this is just going to be a problem for lots more parents.

Startail Thu 07-Feb-13 19:27:59

"Love to know where all of these school-hours jobs will appear from though"

So would I especially living in a rural area where almost any job is 1/2 hrs commute from school.

Ie. I need a 9.30-2.50, Term time only Job that pays my petrol.

Except for jobs in schools there is no such thing!

SizzleSazz Thu 07-Feb-13 19:41:48

My job is part time, but i have to start at 8 (some days) and finish at 5 (some days). School is 45 mins away and afterschool club finishes at 5.

So, i have a babysitter, afterschool club, adhoc nanny, holiday CM plus DH on one day. Between us we juggle it. No, its not easy and is a PITA but i need to work so we do it.

I absolutely agree term time school hours jobs don't land at your feet, so you have to make other arrangements, however cobbled together they may be (like mine)

AnAirOfHope Thu 07-Feb-13 19:58:25

If you have no family to help out school age children will need cm to drop off and pick up and then help with homework untill the child is 12 yo then they can walk back home and stay on their own untill you get home at 6 - 8pm.

How is that benefital to the children?

I agree with the statement "other tax payers should not pay for your life style choice" but something about this doesnt sit well for me. I think it makes me feel like a slave as my choice of having children is taken away because im poor.

thesnootyfox Thu 07-Feb-13 20:05:37

Ineedaspartame, most bf babies are not bf beyond 6-12 months so can't see why the responsibility of staying at home should fall to the mother.

You see that you would cut back on food rather than put your child into a nursery. A working mother is surely better for the child than an under-nourished mother.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now