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Not sure if this is the right board for this but can anyone answer a question about contributions based Jobseeker's Allowance?

(19 Posts)
Bearfrills Thu 22-Aug-13 13:46:35

For reasons beyond my control I might have to resign my part time job in October. They are changing my shifts, I am unable to work the new shifts, I've offered compromises, I've asked about flexible working, etc but it all boils down to no other option - it's the new shifts or resign.

I have two children (4yo and 2yo) and live with DH in a rented property. He works full time.

If/when I resign I will have worked for my employer continously for six months and I earn roughly £550 before any deductions. No NI comes off that as I'm below the threshold however I think I'm deemed a having paid it as it averages more than £109 a week?

I got contributions based JSA from May 2012 to November 2012 when my old job ended, then nothing (except my 'stamp') from November 2012 to April 2013 when I started this job.

If/when I leave work I will be roughly 25 weeks pregnant, which complicates matters slightly.

Will I qualify for contributions based JSA? What would happen about maternity pay?

I'm trying to work out budgets and scenarios for every possible outcome and its all so confusing!

meditrina Thu 22-Aug-13 13:54:20

You don't normally qualify for JSA at all if you resign, unless you can persuade the adviser that it is a constructive dismissal situation.

If your employer is altering shifts for sound business reasons, there is little you can do to continue. But your choice should be between new shifts and redundancy, assuming your current working pattern is in your contract. Are you a member of a union?

TempName365 Thu 22-Aug-13 13:58:31

I think you can start maternity leave at 25 weeks (but do double check) - can you just notify them that you will start maternity leave from the earliest possible date (DH to take holiday to cover childcare if that leaves you a week or two short)?

MrsJohnHarrison Thu 22-Aug-13 14:04:33

Bearfrills, do you perhaps work for a large supermarket?
If its where I think it is, they have consulted the Union and can do this. If you feel what hours you can do are reasonable, but managers won't take it on board, I would see a rep.
We're losing 2 people so far due to changed family circumstance and the managers don't seem willing to find a solution. sad

Bearfrills Thu 22-Aug-13 17:43:57

I work for the NHS in admin.

I was taken on in April to do evening shifts (4:30-8 Monday to Friday) but never actually did them, I've always done 1:30-5 Monday-Friday instead. In June I was offered three full days, 8am-4:30pm instead which I accepted but was told I couldn't start those until they got a replacement for me/my old shifts.

They've now got a new member of staff who is doing 1:30-5 Monday to Friday but once he's trained up he will be doing evenings,4:30-8 Monday to Friday and I've been told I will have to do these shifts alongside him until they find yet another replacement at which point I can do the three full days I was offered.

The timescales being talked about are that I'd be on the evening shifts for at least 16-20wks (by which point I'd be due to start maternity leave).

My contract doesn't actually state evenings, it just says 17.5hrs part time.

My circumstances have changed since I got the job (in January) and started the job (in April). For one, I'm pregnant. I'm pretty much asleep by 7:30 and I get bad acid reflux and heartburn for which I've been told not to eat after roughly 7pm, which would be mid-shift and I don't get a meal break. Transport has also changed and there is no bus home until 9:10pm so I would have to sit in a city centre bus station, on my own, for at least an hour on the dark nights. I'd get home at 10pm, semi-rural area and my walk home from the bus is along fields, etc. I'm not one of these who sees a mugger behind every lamppost or a rapist behind every tree but (much as I hate to admit it) being pregnant makes me vulnerable to a certain extent and I'd be putting myself into an additionally vulnerable situation.

Added to this would be the sort of weather you can expect in winter - ice, snow, etc - and the walk from work to the bus station is all downhill with not many people around at that time of day. If I slipped and fell (a possibility with the centre of gravity and balance changes) there likely wouldn't be anyone around to help me.

And finally, my family life has changed since I took the job. DS is now 4yo and about to start school. If I was doing these shifts I won't see him at all Monday to Friday as he will be at school when I leave for work and in bed when I get home. I won't see DH either as he will be at work when I go to work and in bed when I get home (he has a 5am start so goes to bed by 10). I'd be getting in after 10pm to a sleeping house, tea at that time of night all on my own and then straight to bed too, no time with my family, not even an hour or two. It's beyond soul destroying. One night a week DH works until 8pm too and we can't get childcare for this.

I've explained it to my manager and offered a compromise of starting/finishing twenty minutes later/earlier so I can catch the 8pm bus. I still won't see DS and will only get an hour each day with DH but it was at least something.

She rejected it.

I have my health and safety pregnancy risk assessment in the next week or two and I'm going to mention it to them to see if they can broach an agreeable compromise but if not I'm stuck. I can't do the shift and they can't/won't change it.

This is why I'm looking at all the options.

pingulingo Sat 24-Aug-13 08:26:45

I've just started on contribution based jsa. Here's the advice i was given:

The tax years they will look at for a JSA claim in Aug 2013 are 10/11 and 11/12. You need to have paid or been credited with class 1 NIC's on earnings of £4850 in 10/11 and £5100 in 11/12.

I was also told that child benefit NI credits are counted but you need to have some earnings on top of them to qualify.

I think as others have said though that your resignation may mean you have a number is weeks or months before you qualify.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 24-Aug-13 08:28:02

Surely you've got some kind of case for constructive or otherwise? I would talk to the CA.

pingulingo Sat 24-Aug-13 08:30:43

I've just read the problems you are having with your shift pattern and hours you are now being asked to work. Can you ask advice from one of the union reps if you are in the NHS? Maybe they would let you join union before this escalates into a formal issue and you would then have the benefit of their legal help and advice?

LIZS Sat 24-Aug-13 08:34:22

Would you be actively seeking work at 25 weeks pg though and you may need to be more flexible about working hours to satisfy them anyway. You wouldn't get SMP if you resigned but may get MA.

AuntieStella Sat 24-Aug-13 08:35:25

Sorry to sounded harsh, because I can see why they are personal concerns, but the transport, weather and childcare issues are not your employer's concern and are totally irrelevant to CA.

Your strong point seems to be the 'no eating after 7pm' stipulation, as you can make a case that they are failing to make reasonable PG adjustments for you. Do you have that medical advice in writing? Can you get your OH PG assessment brought forwards?

RhondaJean Sat 24-Aug-13 08:39:25

You would still be required to actively seek work at 25 weeks pregnant if you claim jsa yes. You can only move to another benefit 11 weeks before your due date,

But you may not be entitled to any other benefits dependent on your DHs income.

You cannot be made redundant as someone else suggested because the job would still exist, the issue is that you can't meet the requirements of it.

I would make an appointment with your CAB for some advice tailored to your situation but you might find it very hard to claim jsa in those circumstances and you would have to continue to job seek and meet the conditions attached while you did.

RhondaJean Sat 24-Aug-13 08:43:09

It's not a stipulation though auntie, it's a suggestion and it sounds pretty vague, and if you finish at 8.30 if they provided a break before 7 I think they would be okay in terms of meeting the need.

Because your contract just says the number of hours and not teh times you are contracted to, they can ask you to work when suits really.

gintastic Sat 24-Aug-13 08:44:01

If you can hang on until 29 weeks you can go on maternity leave?

RhondaJean Sat 24-Aug-13 08:45:48

Sorry for multiple posts but I'm thinking on my feet.

I think your best thing to do is to submit a written formal request for the hours you want under flexible working legislation and let them write back saying they refuse to meet them and why.

AuntieStella Sat 24-Aug-13 08:50:00

OP said there was no break - that's why I think this is an area to look into with OH. Of course, they might decide all is needed is provision of a break as preferred means of meeting the need and, if so, I agree there is no case to be made.

RhondaJean Sat 24-Aug-13 08:51:39

Sorry I had misread that they weren't allowing a break at 7, I really shouldn't be allowed to post in the mornings.

RhondaJean Sat 24-Aug-13 08:52:26

The caution then would be they offer a half hour break at 6.30 and op has to stay on half an hour later.

AgentProvocateur Sat 24-Aug-13 09:06:44

But when you started, you knew the shifts would be four till eight. That's what you were employed to do. You were fortunate that you didn't need to, but when you agreed to take the job, you must have known about the bus times and how far it was from the bus stop to your house and that your child would be starting school.

I don't think you can expect your employer to change the shifts now.

Bearfrills Sat 24-Aug-13 09:35:04

The bus times are a recent change a d I knew about DS starting school but the old times meant I could pick him up before leaving for work, the new times mean I can't. And yes, these were the shifts offered when I took the job however I've never done them and I was offered new shifts in June which I accepted (three full days instead of five short shifts).

Thanks all for the information. I've emailed H&S to chase up my risk assessment. There have also been two members of staff leave this week - one on ML and one temp finishing. Another temp finishes in two weeks. We all already know we're basically going to be screwed in terms of workload as we're already three down and now we're going to be another three down, leaving us at literally 50% staff capacity. I'm going to wait and see what H&S say and also point out to my manager that I could be better utilised during the day (which should be evident when it all starts getting backlogged).

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