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to think most part-time workers don't know what's about to hit them?! (Universal Credit)

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aufaniae Thu 31-Jan-13 23:32:41

Do you work part-time and get Working Tax Credit or Housing Benefit?

Did you know that once you're on Universal Credit, you'll be expected to attend the Job Centre to prove that you're looking for better paid work / more hours, in much the same way as unemployed people must prove they're looking for work.

If the Job Centre find an interview for you, you will have to attend (with 48 hours notice) even if it clashes with your paid work.

If you are offered a job with more hours, or better pay than your current one, you will be obliged to take it, even if you have good reason for not wanting to e.g. it's only a temporary post (whereas your current one is permanent) / has no training & worse prospects than your current job / makes picking your children up from school impossible / requires you to travel much further / has nothing to do with the career you're following.

If you don't attend the interview and/or take the job, your UC will be sanctioned, you will lose the UC for months or even years (depending on if it's your first infraction).

You will be forced to continue "upgrading" your job until you earn the equivalent of minimum wage for 35 hours a week.

I suspect there are lots of people (e.g. parents who work part time so they can pick their kids up from school) who will be affected by this, but don't realise it yet.

More info here

gallicgirl Fri 01-Feb-13 00:12:02

The trouble with that sweeping generalisation, Rose, is that often part time work suits other caring responsibilities.

If part time workers are forced to work more hours, assuming they can find jobs with more hours, then they will have to pay for child care, putting more demand on nurseries and pushing up prices, thus wiping out any pay increase from working extra hours.
it doesn't say anything about carers so elderly parents may be forced into expensive care homes creating an extra burden on the state.

Also many businesses need part time workers as they need the flexibility. The example was midday assistants - what is the school going to do with them for the rest of the day?

What about shops which are only busy at certain times of the day? They need staff to come in just for a few hours at peak times.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 01-Feb-13 00:12:45

Universal credit will replace all the other benefits. ESA, JSA any form of tax credits etc. So if you get nay of those in any way it will affect you. The point is to massage as many people off Universal Credit in the same manner as JSA claimants currently are, with the same rules and sanction rights applying.
You will be expected to ask your current employer for more hours and you will be expected to seek more hours and prove it, much like unemployed claimants do.
You will expected to partake in job search review interviews and may even be eligible to be put in for workfare.

The last link explains how the unclear wording of the government legislation could well lead to confusion and be interpreted in a way which means the advisor could threaten sanctions and leave the part time worker no choice but to leave their part time work for a mandatory work acitivity. However now you have voluntarily left your employment and have left youself open to up to 3 years worth of sanctions.

The objections are based around the governments heedless pressing ahead, regardless of objections without closing any of these grey areas and leaving an awful lot of scope for people to find themselves up shit creek depending on their advisors interpretation of the regulations.

Fanjango Fri 01-Feb-13 00:16:36

YANBU to get this mentioned! My oh has just secured a second job to keep us afloat but if he loses so much as an hour we could fall in this bracket. It's bloody scary what this Govt is doing and we, as a country, are sleepwalking towards the most draconian and negative change that any govt has made. With no proper madate it seems impossible to accept that they can do this, but they will and they are!

aufaniae Fri 01-Feb-13 00:17:32

sparklyjumper that's interesting, so are you saying the level for conditionality for a lone parent is 24 hours at minimum wage rather than 35 (up to age 12 of youngest child?)

Do you know where there's more info on that? (The computer I'm on atm is is not very well, googling takes ages!)

flaggybannel Fri 01-Feb-13 00:20:07

thanks for bringin this to peoples attention op!
I have been trying to explain what will be happening with uc to my co-workers and my manager and they either dont believe me or imagine i am making it up.
I have a permanant part-time job that offers training, plus i am a keyholder also the whisper is i would be offered promotion in a few years time when my supervisor retires. If i bailed out now to go to a full time position elsewhere , that may only last a couple or weeks i would end up unemployed at the end of the contract and with no chance of eventally being taken on full -time in my previous post.
I am worried. Very worried.

sparklyjumper Fri 01-Feb-13 00:22:02

I believe so yes, I'm on phone so can't look now as nets useless unless using an app. I think it's 16 hours at min wage until 5 to get the extra bit that would have been WTC, 24 min wage up to age 12. That's just for single parents. It's still a ridiculous idea that will never work in reality and sadly.I see some terrible times ahead.

pluCaChange Fri 01-Feb-13 00:22:55

But I keep seeing news report after news report on underemployment, in which people are working fewer hours than they'd like. Doesn't that mean there aren't the fuller-time jobs, at least for now? hmm

And why not go after zero-hours contracts first? Probably don't care enough to erase the impression of hypocrisy

Roseformeplease Fri 01-Feb-13 00:26:30

Too late for a bunfight but, what about self reliance? Pride? Doing things for our own families, not expecting others to work so we don't have to? I am happy to pay taxes to support the old, the sick and the weak. However, not sure why I am working supporting my children by working full time and paying for childcare and paying high taxes to support those who CHOOSE to stay at home with theirs. Mine are fortunate in not having ASD but I am not 100% sure that this alone should be a reason not to work and expect state support.

Also, if part time work is all that is available, yet you are encouraged to look for more hours / better pay, what is wrong with that? Why should you have a job that fits in with your child's schooling, paid for by my job which might not. I pay more taxes, you get more benefits - bene, from the Latin meaning good. So I get the hard work and you get the good times with your child. Surely, you should at least be encouraged to try to earn more and be more self-reliant?

sparklyjumper Fri 01-Feb-13 00:28:40

you know what rose, those who look down from a great height have the furthest to fall. Hope you never land on your arse

Clytaemnestra Fri 01-Feb-13 00:29:28

Some of the OP isn't true. For example, there is no way that someone could be forced into temporary work from a permanent role, that is specifically excluded. There are a lot of exemptions around carers and parents with children under 12 as well.

Actual doc is here if people are interested Download a PDF

TheSecondComing Fri 01-Feb-13 00:30:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

manicbmc Fri 01-Feb-13 00:31:34

How is anything 'paid for by your job', Rose? Most of us pay taxes just the same as you.

Have a biscuit

You have no idea how things are and how people are struggling.

LadyBeagleEyes Fri 01-Feb-13 00:33:15

I despair of this goverment, I really do.
I've always been 50/50 about Scottish Independence, but I honestly believe, under Cameron's policies, we will vote to leave the UK.
And that makes me sad, it shouldn't be the reason why I would vote for such a momentous decision.
But it is.

aufaniae Fri 01-Feb-13 00:35:39

Google finally cranked up and mumsnet was one of the links (we're everywhere! wink)

Mumsnet Universal Credit Guide

It says:

"Everyone must sign a claimant commitment to receive the basic element of universal credit. Refusal to sign will result in tough penalties; these are still being defined, but may include benefit being reduced or withdrawn for up to three years.
The claimant commitment is designed to show the claimant's willingness to work at short notice and that they are prepared to fulfil all requirements to get them closer to finding work or increasing their existing work hours."

It says the exemptions include lone parents with a child aged under one.

From age 1 to 5, lone parents will be required to attend "work-related interviews" to keep them "in touch" with the labour market.

From 5-13, lone parents need to be looking for and available to do any type of work within school hours. (I guess this is sparklyjumper's 24 hours).

Clytaemnestra Fri 01-Feb-13 00:35:51

Oh and this one is the bit which has the exemptions for children under 12 another pdf

Roseformeplease Fri 01-Feb-13 00:36:00

Been on my arse. Got myself up off it, got a job, made sure I could support myself. Watched my mother, dropped from enormous house with pool to tiny council house, feel sorry for herself aged 40, give up and accept a life on benefits. I believe very, very strongly as a result in the importance of paying your own way as a sure way of having respect for yourself and for others. A life lived expecting anyone else, state or private, to pay your way for you is a shit life. I have always, always worked one way or another and cannot understand anyone who expects to be subsidised to sit at home, work school hours only or have any of the luxuries that are the preserve of the very, very rich.

aufaniae Fri 01-Feb-13 00:36:13

The mumsnet guide also says:

"Particular areas of concern include fears that there will be harsh assessments of people with disabilities and those who are currently unable to work because of illness, that the new benefit cap will hit larger families and people who live in places where the cost of housing is high, as well as there being unrealistic expectations for lone parents with young children to go out to work."


"These requirements may be designed to help people into work, but the tough sanctions (fixed period sanctions of 91 days for the first failure; 128 days for the second failure, if it occurs within 52 weeks of the first; and three years for third and subsequent failures, if they occur within 52 weeks of the previous failure) mean that people will be forced into low-paid jobs."


"Creating a workforce that lives in fear of losing low-paid jobs may lead to abuses and erode employees' rights. The fact that universal credit will not top-up payments for claimants involved in pay disputes may indicate a bias towards the rights of the employer."

ValiumQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 00:37:38

Reading with interest but on phone so cannot read links. I am currently on mat leave from a permanent post. I have three young children and was hoping to cut my hours when I go back to work. Under tax credits I would be better off financially if I worked less hours due to childcare costs. I am waiting to see what would happen under UC and it is a very stressful time for me. Thank you for this thread.

Viviennemary Fri 01-Feb-13 00:37:49

It doesn't seem to be very clear exactly what is going to happen. And exactly how much people will lose in benefits. Will they actually lose benefits?

JockTamsonsBairns Fri 01-Feb-13 00:41:50

lady we must vote to get away from this!

Roseformeplease Fri 01-Feb-13 00:42:58

No job. I would move to where there are jobs. Look at the Spaniards currently frantically learning German to secure jobs, or the Poles moving all the way across Europe to secure a job, any job. These are the people I admire, the people who recognise that, ultimately, they are in charge of their own destinies and that they should not and cannot continue to be passive recipients of state support when the state has nothing left to support them with.

Not sure why you think I have no idea how things are. I live in an area with real poverty and yet the local work ethic is such that everyone works, when and where they can, even if only seasonally. Those who can't find work move away, start their own businesses or take whatever they can get their hands on. This attitude rubs off on their children who also get jobs, earn their own way and so it goes on.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 01-Feb-13 00:44:36

That is the point Viviennemary This legislation is rolling out imminently and has so many unclear areas which a job centre advisor will have to interpret. This will mean the same set of circumstances may lead to a vastly different outcome depending on the advisors interpretation.
Claimants, Employers and those expected to advise and enforce this still don't know enough about it and its very late in the day with still no sign of clarity.

ValiumQueen Fri 01-Feb-13 00:45:29

Can anyone tell me what the requirements are for couples, do both have to be earning at that level?

CaseyShraeger Fri 01-Feb-13 00:46:50

Rose, did you grasp the bit where people are expected to chuck in PERMANENT part-time jobs to take TEMPORARY full-time minimum wage jobs (which could be seasonal work over Christmas, for example). So they'll go from taking a small amount of UC in their part-time job, to a couple of months of taking less UC in their full-time minimum wage jobs, to not having any job at all and taking shedloads of out-of-work benefit. I assume you'll have no problem working full time and paying high taxes to support someone who had a perfectly good part time job but as a result of this policy now has no job at all? You'll also be subsidising benefits for the people who don't even get a full-time job but who get sacked from their part time jobs because they are required by the government to take repeated unauthorised absence to go to interviews for full time jobs they never actually stood a chance of getting.

Also I assume you won't mind that your children's school will no longer have dinner supervisors or cleaners -- those are by their nature part time jobs, but it'll be impossible to take on anyone part time (unless they are for some reason ineligible for UC) because they could be required by the government to walk out of their part time job with no notice.

aufaniae Fri 01-Feb-13 00:49:56

Clytaemnestra happy to be corrected. And that's a useful document, thanks.

I'm going on articles I've found online. I can see that document came out after the article I'd read which said there was nothing to stop them making you leave a permanent job for a temporary one; I can see they've now said they won't do that, so that's a relief.

However that's just detail. The basic principle applies. If you can't find extra hours with your current employer, or another job to boost your hours, they can require you to attend interviews at short notice and take up another job with perhaps only marginally better hours / pay against your will, or lose your UC for months or up to 3 years. This is going to affect people massively.

There's a lot of confusion about what's going on, partly because of the speed it's coming out. In that document for example, it says

"We will in due course provide more detailed guidance on how this will operate in practice."

I think this is pretty wooly considering it'll be reality in October!

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