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To leave work and go on benefits?

(211 Posts)
AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 15:41:15

[prepares for flaming]

I work in a coffee shop that turns into a wine bar on a weekend.

I've been there since it opened 7 years ago. I am only the member of staff who's been there since the start and as such whenever anyone leaves I am just expected to cover their shifts until a replacement is found.

I started there on a 15 hours a week, when I left my Ex-H a couple of years ago I asked for more hours, my boss gave me weekends and evenings to top up my hours because my leaving Ex-H co-incided with him getting his wine bar license.

I feel like I never see my kids, we can never go anywhere together and it's really starting to get to me. Loads of parents were bringing their kids in ion fancy dress last night (before we switched to wine bar mode) on their way to or from parties, I was working, just like I was last Halloween and just like I am on the 5th.

I haven't had a Christmas eve with my kids since we turned into a wine bar and not likely to get one this year, I am the only one with enough experience to manage the bar on a busy shift, apparently. I've worked every Friday and Saturday night for the last 3 years, every Christmas Eve, every New Years eve and every Hallloween/Guy Fawkes/Easter/Bank Holiday.

I've asked for my shifts to be changed loads of times and in fairness my boss does then start looking for new staff, however because he can get away with paying under 25's less we end up with daft kids who last a few months and then the whole thing starts again and of course they cannot work busy shifts from the start because they don't have have enough experience, in general I get one or two weekends by the time they're trained before they walk out.

I'm applying for better jobs but almost everything that fits in with the childcare I have available is evenings and weekends.

AIBU to just leave? Is it even possible? I'd keep looking for work of course, I couldn't just not work and I'd be entitled to free courses at the college so would look into getting more qualifications.

isseywithcats Sun 01-Nov-15 15:45:24

except that giving up your job voluntarily will mean you will get no benefits for at least 13 weeks and if you dont get another job living on benefits is shit you wont have any money to take the kids anywhere

Babyroobs Sun 01-Nov-15 15:46:42

I wouldn't leave until you have something else lines up unless your youngest child is under 5. If your kids are over 5, then you would have to go onto JSA and I think they can send you on courses or ask you to apply for jobs some distance away although they do take your kids ages into account. I think also you could possibly be sanctioned for a while if you leave a job without what they consider to be a good reason. I too have to work weekends / Christmas day/ eveneings and miss out a lot on stuff with my kids too so I do understand how it feels.

WorraLiberty Sun 01-Nov-15 15:47:20

It really doesn't work like that.

Despite what Channel 5 would have us believe, you can't just walk out of a job and straight to the benefits office, with your hand out.

Also, the days of free courses seem to be long gone...well certainly courses of your choice anyway.

dalmatianmad Sun 01-Nov-15 15:47:21

I really feel for you op, I don't think anyone had the right to flame you!

I know exactly where you are coming from, I recently got a new job after 20 years of working Christmas day/ easter etc.....
I'm now Mon to Fri and working nice normal hours. Ive taken a massive pay drop but we will manage, quality time with my kids is far more important!

Good luck whatever you decide....

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Sun 01-Nov-15 15:48:07

Have you looked into funding you could get just now.

Depending on your area and wage you can get funding for online courses (OU and the like).

You could only claim income support until your youngest child is 5, if your dc are older than that you can't and you would get sanctioned for quitting your job.

It is very difficult. I have dc and have done crappy work from home jobs for years to fit in around my dc, although things are looking up a bit now it took a long time for me to get there. flowers

Babyroobs Sun 01-Nov-15 15:48:16

Just to add, if you looked for a more 9-5 job then you would most likely as a one parent be entitled to a good deal of help with childcare costs ( if you can't use family/ friends) through the tax credit system.

Purplerain067 Sun 01-Nov-15 15:48:17

How old are your children?
I think in your shoes I would probably start looking for something more suitable and then leave. I would hate to not be able to spend these precious times with my family, making memories is so important.

AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 15:50:19

I thought you could get benefits straight away if you had dependents?

I've never claimed before so don't really know how it works.

Our local college offers evening courses for free for people on benefits or at a reduced price for low incomes. I've done some before but now struggle to fit any in with work.

DimpleHands Sun 01-Nov-15 15:51:29

Yes I think YABU.

Benefits should be a safety net, not a lifestyle choice. People deciding that a job doesn't suit them and going on benefits instead just takes money out of the pot for people who don't have a choice, like my disabled son. I work hard in my job in the City - usually 12 hour days (plus an hours' commute each way) and often weekends too which mean I don't get to see my son much at all. But that's life, isn't it? I wouldn't dream of sitting back and letting the taxpayer pay my way unless I had no other choice.

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Sun 01-Nov-15 15:54:26

If you're such an invaluable member of staff then tell (don't ask) your boss you need every other weekend off, or whatever it is that you want. You've got him/her over a barrel, surely?

WorraLiberty Sun 01-Nov-15 15:54:33

I thought you could get benefits straight away if you had dependents?

Not if you've simply walked out of a job, no.

Also, regarding the free college courses...often you will have had to have been on benefits for quite a while, otherwise lots of people would walk out of a job just to get a free course.

AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 15:55:07

My youngest is over 5.

I think it's just getting to more atm because of all the holidays coming up and our newest member of staff can barely tie her own shoes laces much less manage a weekend shift. I expect she will quit shortly leaving me to do her shifts.

I'm applying to everything I don't mind doing some weekends or even most weekends, just not every weekend and every holiday.

StrawberryTeaLeaf Sun 01-Nov-15 15:56:26

Could you register as a temp?

Fairylea Sun 01-Nov-15 15:56:34

If you are lucky enough to get a sympathetic job centre worker they will allow you to go onto benefits straight away (I left a job under similar circumstances to you in the middle of a bit of a breakdown after my then dh left me). I had walked out of my job and explained my background etc and they allowed me to claim straight away.

If you go onto the turn to us website there is a benefit calculator and advice line numbers.

KatharineClifton Sun 01-Nov-15 15:57:01

Income Support and CTC for lone parents until youngest child is 5 (changing to age 3 in 2017). After that it's only JSA or ESA (if you are ill). Tax Credits run-on will be 4 weeks. As pp has said, if you intentionally make yourself unemployed you won't get JSA for 13 weeks. Then there are pretty onerous conditions including workfare. Not sure whether Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support have the same 13 week rule.

Look at home-based distance learning courses and get another job before you leave this one.

DeoGratias Sun 01-Nov-15 15:59:29

Do also ask your boss. I am sure he won't want to lose you so if you said you will stay if he gives a pay rise of £x per hour and you get Christmas off every other year or whatever else he might require (and perhaps offer to help him find good younger staff - not all under 25 are useless by any means) then you might be able to stay. By the way I have never celebraets a hallowe'en or guy fawkes with the children and it has not harmed then one iota. They are not very big celebrations in the UK really.

AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 16:07:04

I have asked him and also told him that I cannot do every weekend, he just promises to find/train more staff and it never works out. He's not very easy to work for tbh he has a rotten temper, I think that's most of the problem. He's a nice enough man when he's not throwing a tantrum.

I told him last night (and last week) that I have plans in the 5th and will not be able to work past 3pm. I'm rota'd on to do 4:30pm until 12. We're opening as a wine bar because people will want a few drinks after they've been to see the fireworks, I questioned him about it and reminded him that I told him I wasn't free and rarely ask for time off and never phone in sick, he had no choice, allegedly, no one else is capable of working that shift, if it's quiet I can leave early hmm

I'm calling in sick. I'll lose pay that I cannot afford to lose but I am fed up to the point that I just don't care anymore.

goodnightdarthvader1 Sun 01-Nov-15 16:22:43

I agree with DimpleHands. It's not a lifestyle choice. Why should my taxes pay for you to not work?

DinosaursRoar Sun 01-Nov-15 16:24:38

Have you told your boss you are looking for a new job because your current hours are unsuitable with your family commitments and are considering just resigning with nothing lined up because you can't work all these hours? It might be worth making it clear hes going to lose you too. I would also in the future put it in writing (e-mail would do) that you can't do X Y Z shifts next time you need certain dates kept free.

What are your contracted hours? anything above that you can refuse, even if there's no one else, he could do it himself...

With the current government, even if you can get benefits straight away, or survive the first few weeks until they kick in, I wouldn't make it a long term plan. The way things currently are is no indication of how things will be in 12 months time, and I've yet to see a change that means a single low paid parent would be better off...

AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 16:26:50

I would think it's the national insurance I've been paying that would pay for it, goodnight, I've worked since I was 14 without any gaps in employment. I worked f/t from being 16 until dc2 was born when I was 27, after that I went p/t. I've never claimed JSA ever.

It's not a lifestyle choice, it's effecting my mental health and my family.

I fully intend to continue looking for work. I can't not work, it would drive me mad.

It looks like it's not an option anyway because of the ages of my children.

3littlefrogs Sun 01-Nov-15 16:27:19

He won't sack you, so make a stand.
Every other weekend is completely reasonable IMO.

Mistigri Sun 01-Nov-15 16:29:01

I don't think I would jack it in without another job to go to, if only because it's harder to find work once you are out of work.

You've been there 7 years and you have valuable experience so I think that you need to be a bit more assertive with your boss.

Dig out your contract and see what it says about hours. And think about joining a union.

ilovesooty Sun 01-Nov-15 16:29:08

It looks as though you might have to look at your childcare arrangements if the evenings and weekends are when childcare is available but you want to work fewer of them. Alternatively do as suggested and make it clear to your employer in writing that these working patterns are unacceptable to you and he needs to look at his staffing.
You certainly won't be eligible for benefits if you walk out and the expectations of the job centre will be difficult too at such time as you become eligible for jsa.

AllOfTheCoffee Sun 01-Nov-15 16:30:34

I'm contracted for 25 hours, but usually do closer to 30 if not more.

I've not yet told him I'm looking for work. I'll tell him on Monday and see if it makes a difference.

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