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Returning to work after MAT leave/childcare/benefits

(12 Posts)
EllieandAnna Fri 29-Apr-16 14:01:02

Hi,

Just wanting to see if anyone has had similar circumstances. Currently on mat leave and trying to figure out what works out best for us financially. Before ds was born dm said she was retiring and would do childcare, unfortunately she has changed her mind so I went to citizens advice to try and make sense of everything.

Citizens advice have said that if either one of us gave up work to care for ds we would receive the same amount of benefits despite the fact there is £4000pa difference in our earnings, is this right?? They also said if we work it will only work out at £40pm more.

Unfortunately dh is the one with lower earnings, we both said if it came to it that we would want me to look after ds, I'd do groups and more actibities/housework and dh doesn't really have much patience, doesn't look like I've got much choice though.

Would to know if anyone else has been in a similar situation. Or even any ideas on how we can make this work! I'm starting to panic a bit as ds is 5 months and everything we had in place has all changed and I find this benefits stuff rather confusing as the online calculators xame out with completely different figures.

Rockchick1984 Fri 29-Apr-16 14:17:26

How much do you both earn? Are you both employed full time?

EllieandAnna Fri 29-Apr-16 14:20:50

Yes, both employed full time, he earns £15000 and me £19000.

Babyroobs Fri 29-Apr-16 14:53:35

Go to the entitled to website and put in different scenarios to see how much help you would get from tax credits. If you went part time you may get help with childcare costs as long as you both work 16 hours or more. Or could one of you change jobs so that you work around each other. So for example one of you works 9-5 and the other works part time evenings/ weekends, therefore not needing any childcare. If either of you gave up your job you would get some help from tax credits but it's unlikely to be a lot . I think CAB have wrongly advised. The lower the household income the more tax credits you woud get, so if you gave up your job and your total household income was £15k, you would get some working tax credit as well as child tax credits. If he gave up his job your income of £19k would be too high for wrking tax credits, you would just get some child tax credits. A household income above roughly £26k and you would not get any child tax credits unless you were getting some help with childcare costs. The best thiing is to go onto one of the benefit calculaters and put in different scenarios.

EllieandAnna Fri 29-Apr-16 15:04:47

Thank you, I think you're right and they have wrongly advised, this is what has gotten me so confused. I went on entitled to and it ended up us being better off by £190 me not working which I thought couldn't be right. We think we might try working around each other, looking like dh will be doing days though as we live in quite a small town and can't imagine I could get much evening work. They make it do complicated!

AnotherEmma Fri 29-Apr-16 15:17:03

Did Citizens Advice do a full benefits check and "better off" calculation? They should have done, and they should have printed off the figures for you and explained them.

However, that's not always possible if you just go to the drop in - you would usually need to make a proper appointment for an adviser to go through it all with you.

If you just went to a drop in maybe you could call them and explain that you're still confused and would like a benefits check appointment to go through it all properly?

In the meantime, in case it helps, these are the benefits you would be entitled to:
- child benefit
- child tax credits (if you both work and need childcare, you would get the childcare element of CTC which covers 70% of childcare costs)
- working tax credits

Since you are the higher earner it would be a shame for you to give up your job (unless you hate it?)

Is there any possibility that you and/or your DH could go part time? If you request part time, your employer is legally obliged to consider it (although they don't have to say yes). For example, if you both worked 4 days a week, you would only have to use childcare for 3 days a week (and then you would each have 1 day a week alone with DD).

Remember that even if your income is only slightly higher when you are working (compared to being on benefits) remember that there are lots of other advantages, the main one being that you are staying in the workplace and may be able to get promotions and pay rises, whereas if you gave up work completely, you may find it harder to get a job again later down the line. There are also some advantages in working and paying NI contributions. (Although I think you get NI credits if you're a SAHP... Not 100% sure on that though!)

AnotherEmma Fri 29-Apr-16 15:29:47

Apologies, it's WTC which has a childcare element (not CTC as I said above).

EllieandAnna Fri 29-Apr-16 15:38:26

Ah, I did go to a drop in and the person I saw didn't even usually deal with that side of things. Think I'll book an appointment, thanks for that.

My job has no scope for progression (government cuts and redundancies) and they will only accommodate me doing 2 days a week if i go pt. The job has changed whilst I have been off so I'll be stretched across another 5 offices so was hoping not to return but it's looking like I'll need to. Nevermind.

Thanks for the advice, back to cab I go!

FuzzyOwl Fri 29-Apr-16 15:40:44

Did you get any extra pay above SMP from your employer? It so, check your policy but you usually have to return to work for a set amount of time or pay back all/some of it.

AnotherEmma Fri 29-Apr-16 15:55:20

If I was you I'd go back to work 2 days a week and look for a better part-time job. If you work part-time on that sort of salary you'll be entitled to WTC including the childcare element. Plus you'd get the best of both worlds; you'd keep your hand in at work (which would make it easier to get more hours and/or a new job if you want when DS starts school) but you'd also get to spend time with DS.

Anyway, that's just my two cents, but see what the adviser says if you can get a CAB appointment. If you do get one there is a list of what to take here:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/how-we-provide-advice/advice/what-to-bring-on-your-local-citizens-advice-visit/

EllieandAnna Fri 29-Apr-16 18:02:45

Yeah we decided I'd go back to work for at least 3 months as I'd been paid extra maternity pay. Just going to go back to cab and do the sums for every possibility. The checklist will come in handy so I can prepare everything and hopefully see someone next week.

Splatt34 Sat 30-Apr-16 07:02:24

I don't know about the benefit stuff but I do know about letting dad do the lions share of the childcare. Encourage him & trust him. DH has DDs solo 3 days a week. They have a brilliant time. He takes them to toddler group, soft play, out for lunch, park etc etc. It was scary for him at first but given the opportunity it is fab

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