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Flexible Working Request Refused - Can't possibly go back full time. Benefits help?

(7 Posts)

I'm due back to work in December and have asked if I can go back 3 days a week. Unsurprisingly this has been turned down and I don't really know what to do. if I return full time I'll be required to work evenings and weekends. Dp also works evenings and weekends and neither of us get the same days off every week making childcare pretty much impossible to organise. We have no family nearby to help. I expected my request to be turned down so have been job hunting while on maternity leave but had no success so far. I've been looking for jobs which pay a similar salary to what I'm on now but I'm starting to accept that I might need to look at lower paid jobs.

I'm just wondering if we would get any help in benefits? I've been on the direct gov website but can't seem to work out whats likely. Most of the part time jobs I've seen are for 16 hours on minimum wage, which I would be happy to take but would make us broke if we have to pay £3.50 an hour childcare out of that.

Dp only earns 15k so if I took a 16 hour minimum wage job I think we would qualify for tax credits as our income would be below 26k. However, I've also read that you need to work 24 hours a week to be eligible. I'm so confused!

If I was to work a minimum wage job on 16 hours a week, dp earning 15k - would we get any help? Have tried calling tax credits but lost the will to live on hold for 40 minutes. My only other income this year has been statutory maternity pay so £135 a week. We've didn't qualify for tax credits at the beginning of the year as my estimated income from going back 3 days a week would have taken us over the limit, and last year we were over.

Sorry for rambling, I hope it makes sense!

Rockchick1984 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:28:11

Go on www.entitledto.co.uk and put your details into the calculator, try it with you working and also with you not working. For me and DH, it worked out exactly the same financially if I went back to work or became a SAHM due to my income (even part time) taking us over the tax credits thresholds, so we would have been paying full childcare. I'm a SAHM and although financially its tough, it would have been difficult either way. I'm studying for a degree now so once DS is older and I want to look for work again, I can hopefully get a better job than I had pre-DS!

Rockchick1984 Mon 08-Oct-12 11:29:02

Oh, and tax credits hours is 24 hours total for a couple, you also get extra for each of you who works over 30 hours per week smile

That makes a bit more sense! I went on entitled to but when it got to the tax credits bit it asked to put the amount in? If I stayed at home would I not be classed as unemployed then? Would we still be able to claim tax credits as a couple?

Thanks for your help, the more I read the more confused I get!

Rockchick1984 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:19:57

Yes you would be classed as unemployed but if your DP works full time and earns £15k you will get both child tax and working tax credits. You may also be eligible for some housing benefit, as household income of under £16k-ish.

Ok thanks. Ideally I want to work as I'm going slightly mad at home but its good to know that we won't be destitute if I can't find a job before the end of my mat leave. Thanks so much, you should be employed writing the tax credits guide on the direct gov website, you explain it much better! thanks

Rockchick1984 Mon 08-Oct-12 13:56:56

Thank you! Glad I could help, good luck with the job hunting smile

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