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

(136 Posts)
KeemaNaanAndCurryOn Mon 09-Sep-13 18:53:23

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?

somewherewest Wed 02-Oct-13 19:37:11

We get the credit. DH is working less than full time for a few years to retrain as a clergyman. I'm working very part time and we split caring for our toddler between us. We also both volunteer, I do unpaid work to keep up with my old (and hopefully future) career and DH works far more than his on paper hours in connection with church stuff, including supporting a number of people with MH issues connected with our congregation. But are we 'working enough'? Probably not sad.

Chipstick10 Tue 01-Oct-13 13:53:51

You can't be working hard enough if you are british because let's face it we are wet behind the ears. Thanks for that jamie Oliver. Luv ya.

whatshallwedo Mon 30-Sep-13 21:10:03

I had two jobs prior to going on maternity leave as my dp and I wanted to buy our own home. I did this for four years before we made the concious decision to have a baby.

I returned to my main job once my maternity leave ended and requested to go back on three days a week. I was only offered 2.5 days as they wanted to be able to give the other 2.5 to a new recruit.

I worked out the finances and we could afford this drop in hours.

By the time I started back at work our office was fully staffed for the first time in years (NHS) but if anyone was to leave the hours would be taken away.

All going fine until my dp decided he wanted to leave us. All of my careful planning based on twp salaries went out of the window and I have now had to apply for tax credits.

Obviously I have not chosen this as my life plan but right now I don't see how I can be expected to increase my hours in a job that takes any spare ones away and only gives tge option of 5 days or 2.5.

Should I have made dp stay with us so as not to become a drain on society???

Frodosmum Sun 29-Sep-13 04:05:58

I suspect that the Tories’ end game is a standard six-day working week. That’s where all this is heading.

Ironically, I recall that when the Solidarity trade union ousted the Communist dictatorship in Poland in 1989, the first thing on the agenda was the negotiation of a five-day working week, instead of the six-day week everyone had to do previously for decades, apart from a brief period in 1981.

Perhaps we should all start writing to our MP to ask whether he/she supports the five-day week.

Frodosmum Sat 28-Sep-13 03:09:52

There needs to be some sort of mechanism from moving people where there are no jobs to areas that have them.

It would have helped if the Tories had not abolished the job relocation allowance in 1980. Under Old Labour you could get relocation expenses and the deposit on your first month’s rent for accommodation in the new area in which you were about to start your new job. This was available on the grounds that unemployed people usually do not have the funds needed to move.

Frodosmum Sat 28-Sep-13 02:57:08

Under the new PIP system, if its own software does not destroy it (the government is having terrible software problems), if you get any benefit at all, even a few pennies, you will have to be earning 37 times the hourly minimum wage per week (which is about £6) – i.e., 37 x £6 = about £222. Otherwise you are ‘not earning enough’.

If you earn less than this per week, you can be hauled into the ‘job’ centre for political re-education for the number of hours up to 37 which you are not working.

For example, if you work 32 hours a week but earn less than £222 per week, you will have to go to the job centre for the other five hours to be ‘helped’ to find another five hours work per week to get your earnings up to £222.

I foresee trouble.

Three weeks’ work should pay £666.

The really, really weird thing about this is the fact the policy document mentions an intention to extend this to people not on benefit. God knows what that means.

losingtrust Fri 27-Sep-13 19:44:45

I work 30 hours. No benefits apart from CB but am very lucky to earn enough to do that. I am a lone parent with two kids and would not be sane if I worked full time. With two kids to get out to school in the morning plus homework, housework and no relatives near by I would end up full time on benefits. Kids do need a parent to be around as much as possible. Parents who are making the effort to work should not be further penalised.

Darkesteyes Fri 27-Sep-13 00:16:50

This will make it worse. And even more impossible to increase hours.

WrenNatsworthy Thu 26-Sep-13 10:38:25

amazing post Ttosca.

ttosca Sun 15-Sep-13 17:23:22

Tory policy: Destroy the evidence

In April 2013 Iain Duncan Smith's woefully mismanaged Department for Work and Pensions furtively cancelled the collection of data on the reasons they have been referring people to food banks.

Prior to the introduction of "bedroom tax" and a range of wide ranging welfare cuts in 2013, the DWP food bank referral form included a section to indicate the reason for the referral (benefit delay, benefit change, refusal of crisis loan). After April 2013 this section was removed.

These referral statistics had been used by the Trussell Trust (one of the UK's largest food bank networks) to utterly demolish Anthony David "Lord" Freud's ludicrous claims that the soaring number of people reliant upon food banks had nothing to do with his welfare reforms (here's an article outlining some of the Trussell Trust's statistics).

What is even worse than their efforts to bury these inconvenient statistics is the frankly disgusting rhetoric coming from high profile members of the Conservative party. Who could forget Freud's ludicrous claims that the ever increasing numbers of people relying on food banks are just idle people scrounging "free commodities". Then there's Michael Gove and his revolting "blame the victim" narrative that families turn to food banks because of "poor financial management".

According to the Tories, three straight years of wage repression and countless welfare cuts have nothing to do with the ever increasing numbers of people using food banks. Instead, we are supposed to believe that the numbes of scroungers and financially incompetent people have grown by some 900% since the Tories came to power! How riddled with right-wing confirmation bias would you have to be to accept such transparently ludicrous claims?

The food bank referral boxes are far from the first time that inconvenient statistics have done magical disappearing acts under this government. In August 2013 it was revealed that there had been an alarming 23,400 spike in the official death rate, with the over-80s particularly badly affected. Literally within days of the statistics reaching the public, it was announced that the death rate statistics would no longer be collected.

We can look to Iain Duncan Smith's department for another shocking example: In 2012 some official DWP research found that 10,600 people had died within weeks of being stripped of their disability benefits as a result of Atos administered Work Capacity Assessments. This alarming number didn't even include the number of people stripped of their disability benefits entirely! No data on their fate was collected at all, but there are several examples of people to have died within days of being declared "fit for work" (such as Brian McArdle) to suggest that this data should be collected.

Instead of launching an official inquiry, trying to confirm whether there is any kind of causal link between the WCA regime and these deaths and widening the scope to check the fates of those declared "fit for work" too, the DWP decided to make sure that the research was discontinued.

A government that gives a damn about the civilian population would surely want to find out more about why people are dying, and why soaring numbers of people are living in "food poverty" in one of the richest countries in the World. Instead, the Tories are intent on actively burying evidence that makes them look bad, by discontinuing the collection of "inconvenient statistics" and what is worse, making up grotesque "blame the victim" narratives in order to deflect blame away from themselves and their rotten policies.

YoureBeingADick Sat 14-Sep-13 12:37:50

good luck with it. smile

Wereonourway Sat 14-Sep-13 12:33:17

It's crap isn't it.

I am on the council list, in the hope that a decent home becomes available which I could eventually own but its not likely and I'd like to get somewhere of my own doing if that makes sense.

I'm very lucky that my dad has room for us and his circumstances mean he is happy to have us here too.

YoureBeingADick Sat 14-Sep-13 12:26:45

very understandable- I am in private rented and live in constant fear of a phonecall saying he's selling up or wanted to move in himself.

Wereonourway Sat 14-Sep-13 12:17:05

Sorry, my circumstances have recently changed. I was renting privately(not claiming HB) but chose to live with my dad to attempt to save a deposit so I can eventually own my own house as well as it meaning me and ds are in a safe secure home without threat of us settling and being sold from under us

YoureBeingADick Sat 14-Sep-13 12:09:49

ah yes- that makes it clearer. I assumed rent = private rent to a LL.

My dp doesn't.

He works 7 days a week, when he isn't in work he's helping me care for our two kids who have we get shedloads of tax credits to get by.

Wereonourway Sat 14-Sep-13 12:01:46

yourebeingadick I've not included housing benefit as I pay rent(or board) to my dad as that's who we live with.

Does this make a difference to my circumstances?

YoureBeingADick Sat 14-Sep-13 11:54:43

wereonourway childcare element is part of working tax credit not child tax credit. you also don't seem to have included Housing benefit in your total figure of option 2 yet have said you have rent to pay from your figure in option 1.

woollyideas Sat 14-Sep-13 11:40:01

To respond to a previous poster... The notion that zero hours contracts are only offered to unskilled workers, this is really not true at all.

Universities use zero hours contracts for visiting lecturers, research assistants, etc.

I do wish the coalition would focus on the (IMO) immoral use of zero hours contracts, rather than constantly blaming the unemployed/ill/disabled/low earners for this country's economic woes.

JoinYourPlayfellows Sat 14-Sep-13 10:54:05

A system that incentivises parents (mostly women) to stay at work part time while their children are small, as Wereon has chosen to do, seems a very good thing to me.

I don't think our society is is any position to cope without any of the unpaid work traditionally done by women - housework, caring for elderly, caring for children, volunteering at various social institutions.

But it is not good for women (or any parent, but it is still mostly women) to drop out of the jobs market for years when their children are small.

There are lots of things about tax credits that are problematic, but offering flexibility to working parents of children seems something entirely worth paying for.

78bunion Sat 14-Sep-13 09:14:44

The system is at fault, not the people using it.

No one pays any national insurance contributions until they earn about £7748 a year = £149 a week. So those earning less than that a week are not paying direct taxes (although they are likely to be paying some VAT on some goods they buy so contribute in that way).
No one pays income tax until their pay is over £9440 a year - £181.54 week.

Labour deliberately made everyone with children earning up to about £60k a benefits claimant (tax credits) as socialists want everyone depending on the state. The Coalition has not really been able to change this except tinker at the edges for the highest earners in that bracket.

Letsadmitit Sat 14-Sep-13 05:03:00

I obviously understand there are exceptions where is better for a lone parent to stay at home or work part time, but if the children are healthy and relatively happy there is no excuse.

Letsadmitit Sat 14-Sep-13 05:00:34

You know, I'm a lone parent with two part time jobs, by working full time, I only get about £20 more a week than what I would get in tax credits if I worked only 3 days a week. But it is a matter of principle, there is no justification for me to stay at home when my child is at school. Yes, it would probably make my life easier but it would still be wrong for me to turn a job down, at the end of the day there are a lot of working parents who do not receive tax credits and they don't have this choice.

I don't buy that idea that is better for children of loneparents to have a parent at home. Going to breakfast club abd afterschool club, only means that my child is playing with other children for 2 hours after school ends in a supervised environment instead of being perched in front of the TV or the computer at home or playing in the street while I am at home. The tax credits pay for 70% of the cost so it is not that all my salary is going in paying for childcare.

I still think that tax credits and benefits is a subsidy that you get in order to help you to the place where you can survive independently, not money to rely on as a steady salary for years to come.

expatinscotland Sat 14-Sep-13 00:31:19

Think the problems of: zero-hour contracts (especially those that don't allow you to take on other work), temp/agency outsourcing (a lot of my friends in banking, not low-paid or unskilled, have been made redundant and rehired as agency workers), extremely high cost of living (basics like power, housing and transport) and the very, very real issue of non-resident parents who do not pay to support their children need to be addressed before we start punishing people for not working enough.

Wereonourway Sat 14-Sep-13 00:16:05

williamina my salary when full time ranged from 12k to 20k(from 3 different job, pre ds) I'd worked full time for 11 years before I had him.

And I do pay tax, and NI currently. I don't actually say anywhere that cos I'd "put in I deserve stuff back". But I do contribute. I work and always plan to, and will increase my hours when it is a financial possibility to do so.

If I worked full time in my current role the amount of help I'd get for ccare would give me the amounts left in example 1 I gave above.

Without childcare costs or any form of tax credits I simply could not work, part or full time, or if I could I'd be crippled with debt within a very short space of time.

As an aside I recently moved back in with my dad to save for a deposit towards a house. I cut back wherever I can and will still be able to save very very little.

Tax credits don't give me a life of luxury, I don't think "sod working more, I'm laughing here", they enable me to continue working and to pay for childcare for ds whilst I do.

Actually looking at the sums again I'd be better off NOT working at all yet this will never ever be an option for me

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