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When is it worth going back to work?

(47 Posts)
Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 19:06:57

Hi everyone. Playing with the idea of going back to work. dd is almost 2 and so isn't eligible for a free nursery place yet.
In your experience, how many hours/how much do I need to earn in order to make it worth it (financially, that is)? From what I've worked out so far, I'm better off staying on benefits... esp as I don't want to go back to work full time for a good while yet, because I want to spend a good amount of time with dd.

hercules Sat 06-Aug-05 19:12:05

I guess it depends on your earning power and your partners. I had to go back when dd was 5 months. Started full time for a few months, then 3 days a week for a year and from sept will be 4 days.

I worked full time from when ds was 3 years old and stopped only 4 years later for maternity.

hercules Sat 06-Aug-05 19:12:52

Oops sorry didnt notice lone parents bit so ignore partner bit.

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 19:19:10

hercules! I am aware it is kind of harder for couples who aren't earning a huge amount. I know a few mothers who had no choice but to go back to work early, however much they hated it. Glad that for me I was v happy to be a SAHM (as a lone parent from what I can tell, I think the choice is the other way round).

blossomgirl Sat 06-Aug-05 19:31:27

hi lizita. if your dd is good at night and you can get some family support in the evenings you could try what i do? I work 3 evenings at a supermarket from 6-9, it brings me about £200 a month (i have no child care costs) and I think the hrs are few enough to not count re benefit? Plus cause I work for waitrose their ticket & leaning subsidies are work £180 a year too. can't believe with I love it so much v my pre-baby life in suits & boots!

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 19:35:57

wow well done is all i can say! Reasons for me not to work evenings like that:
a) I wouldn't be able to have family support 3 evenings a week
b) I value my evening time to myself too much/too tired in the evenings!
c) The reasons I want to go back to work part time is for a break from being a SAHM, and also for my dd to get used to being cared for by other people before she goes to nursery.

blossomgirl Sat 06-Aug-05 19:47:35

yeah fair play, still a good place to try and get a few hrs when it suits you (they tailor shifts to appeal to mums and they changed their offered hrs a little to suit me). Hope you find a way to have a break, although i don't get time off from being the sahm, the time out of this blessed house alone is well worth the pain in the ass bits. what sort of work were you thinking of doing?

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 19:50:39

very true re time out of the house!
sounds good, the flexible hours etc you talk of.
I have NO IDEA what i want to do, whenever I think about it I start stressing out! It feels like I could do anything, like it's a crossroads so i'm finding it hard to just to think, sod it, just get any old job!!

have work experience with adults with learning disabilities, and customer service . Don't want to go back to care work (do enough of that with dd!), feel completely unconfident now office wise (as in computer skills, etc, like the world's overtaken me or something) so....i don't know!! aagghgh!

gigglinggoblin Sat 06-Aug-05 19:51:26

what about going back to college instead then? it shouldnt interfere with benefits and lots of colleges have funds to help out people on benefits with childcare. i started doing a levels just for something to do and am now at uni! it gets you out of the house and when you do go back to work you will be in a better position to look for a decent job

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 19:53:13

yeah i have considered that but i run into the same problem - WHAT will i study? Now & then i think of something and think "That would be good/interesting " or whatever but a few days later i go off the idea! I'm scared of enrolling onto a course and then realising later I made a huge mistake or get bored or something.
I know i'm pathetic!

gigglinggoblin Sat 06-Aug-05 19:57:47

as far as i am aware, if you enrol on a course and hate it you just tell them and either change or stop going. cant say for sure as im not sure if all colleges are the same, but i didnt have to pay for any courses due to being on benefits and i wouldnt have had to pay back childcare. if you are interested i would get in touch with your local college and ask if you can come in to speak to a student advisor - and i took ds2 to all interviews and they were perfectly happy for him to be there. is perfect time of year to start looking aswell, you havent got anything to lose

gigglinggoblin Sat 06-Aug-05 20:01:48

you can browse courses all over the country on learn direct website . there is a list on the left of the screen where you can click on 'browse course categories' if you need some inspiration. hth - am going to go away now before you think i am bullying you!

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 20:07:40

thanks goblin, that is incentive to do something about it, I always thought it was more complicated than that, re money/child care etc, but sounds good...

gigglinggoblin Sat 06-Aug-05 20:15:16

hope you do lizita, i was single when i started, would have been worse off working. job centre even told me not to bother. college gave me a huge confidence boost. it was interesting, i made friends, and ds went to the college nursery part time and a childminders a few sessions a week - both of which he loved. there is so much more help for parents who want to go back into education than for those who want to work (plus if you need time off college is usually more understanding). you could be there in a couple of weeks!

Lizita Sat 06-Aug-05 20:16:42

wow you've really sold it to me goblin! Jobcentre told me too that it wasn't worth working! But I really imagined college would be more complicated, do you really not have to pay for child care?

gigglinggoblin Sat 06-Aug-05 20:21:30

you will have to ask your college, or alternatively you may be able to get help through the job centre with new deal type schemes. my college had a fund for people on benefits. i took in the childminders bill, they gave me a cheque (made out to her) for the whole amount. i didnt even need to show them the bill from the college creche, they just sorted it out themselves. all i had to do was take in my benefit award letter and kids birth certificates. i hope yours is similar, i am now at uni and they also have hardship funds to apply for help if you need it. get on the phone!!!

Lizita Sun 07-Aug-05 16:12:54

oh help! I am now really keen on the idea of doing a course, but i have been trawling the internet to get ideas of what i might like to do and i have no idea!! maybe i should just go ahead & get any old job...

nightowl Mon 08-Aug-05 01:21:08

lizita, i think legally you can stay on benefit and work up to 16 hours a week but you will only be allowed to keep £15 of what you earn so im informed.

i went back to work earlier this year (had been made redundant on mat leave). i hadnt been on benefit long enough to qualify for this bonus thing they are doing. i would have been £40 a week better off working 16.5 hours but the inland revenue REALLY made a mess of my tax credits and by the time i got made redundant again, 3 months later. i had been PAYING to work and things had gained interest because of it.

so i went back to the jobcentre and i have to be on benefit again for 6 months before i qualify for a back to work grant of up to £300 for things like work clothes and childcare (has to be paid in advance) and a months rent run on.

if i was on benefit for 12 months, i can have these things plus a £40 a week bonus apparently. seems a bit unfair really so it looks like im stuck here for months. at the moment i just cant AFFORD to go back to work!!

its a lovely idea in theory, going back to work but be warned...things can go pear shaped. dont mean to wee on your bonfire, just wanted to share my experience!!

if you are interested in courses, i go to a course. its free even if you work and the childcare is free also. your jobcentre could advise you on anything similiar in your area.

good luck!!

Lizita Mon 08-Aug-05 08:25:57

thanks. It seems ridiculous doesn't it. I did look into working 12 hours just temporarily at my old job but I would have lost all income support? I worked out I would have been worse off too about 20 quid a week worse off!

mumfor1sttime Mon 08-Aug-05 08:57:43

I cant believe this bloody country sometimes!! Why do they make it hard for mums to go back to work? They should help people who work. I work 16hrs a week 6am to 9.15am, Mon-Fri. I have a partner who is on flexi time so he looks after ds and meets me outside my work place at 9.15 and I then walk home. These are the only hours I can do as I have noone to take care of ds, I looked into going back full time or for say 30 hrs etc -

I found out I would be working full time but bringing home the same money as my part time wage!! What is the point!!

I just wish the Government would do more.

bumptobabies Mon 08-Aug-05 09:02:28

lizita,you sound like i did.
i was a single parent on benefits after an illness, being on benefits took away my confidence.
i decided to do a course in something i enjoyed as apose to something that would earn me money just to boost my confidence,so i chose aromatherapy and reflexology,when i finished i decided to use the same aproach ok what do i like, what am i passioate about, wouldnt it be cool to to do a job i dont believe to be work.
i decided i was passionate about pregnancy and childbirth being as an amazing experiance as possable for those involved.i didnt want to be a midwife as i dont belive in all the intervention.
so i tralled the net and came up wih a doula, which is someone who supports a woman in a non medical way through pregnancy and birth ie massage, active birth positions emotional support and advise.
i discovered a course to do this where i could study from home and also train to be a child birth educater, and as it happens the aromatherapy also hooks in.

sorry i ramble but just to share how i got out of that situation,and good for you for wanting to better yourself, it can be confronting but well worth it and it teaches our kids a good work ethic and above all its somthing for us, stopped me going barmy.

look at me rambleing again.good luck let us know what you decide

gigglinggoblin Mon 08-Aug-05 09:05:47

those are the exact reaons i didnt go back to work. i asked the woman at the job centre why on earth anyone would go back when they would be on less money and she had the cheek to say 'well some people want to work'. i wanted to work, but i didnt want to be more skint because of it! i would have been £10 per week worse off, before you added in travelling expenses (and i couldnt have walked to cm and got to work on time as kids were so small). going to college was the best thing i could have done, and at uni i was actually better off financially (and if i struggled i could have applied for a hard ship loan so would have been even better)

liz, if you realy want to go to college i would go in and speak to a student advisor about what you want to do. that way you will get course info and money info at same place (and they are more likely to tell you what you can get than job centre who are often rubbish). good luck what ever you decide. keep us informed

expatinscotland Mon 08-Aug-05 09:09:12

As one part of a working poor couple who are struggling desperately to stay afloat, DON'T go back to work! You'll just be worse off.

And if you do a college or uni course, make sure it's something that will result in a job which pays enough to support you and your child with NO help from the state at all. Tax credits are a joke.

I know it's nice to 'follow your heart' and 'do what you have a passion' for, but TBH, those are luxuries for which someone who starts off poor will pay very, very dearly for.

vickiyumyum Mon 08-Aug-05 09:09:51

i think that they (the government) want you to work more than 16 hours a week as this is when the tax credits begin when you work more than 16 hours a week.
i have a few friends who work something like 18 hours a week and they then get there chiuldcare paid for by tax credits and because they are single get family credit and so are better off both financially (although not by a great deal) and emotionally by going to work as they have 'me' time and get to meet adults and not feel like they are 'just ..... mum'. (although i do know not all sahm feel this way!)

vickiyumyum Mon 08-Aug-05 09:14:56

expatinscotland- i think a lot of difficulty in tax credits comes when you have two working partners, that certainly seems to be the case for us anyway, we don't get any help as they say that my dh earns too much, but they don't take into account mortgage/rent payment or any outgoings, so 2 of my freinds form school who are single and work over 16 hours get tax creditd for quite a lot(one gets £360 a week, although a lot of that made up of childcare, and the other gets £198 a week, plus there wages and becuase they still get some of there rent pai, they have far more disposable income than i do, not that i begrudge them both of them have workd hard and never intended to be single, had horrible dh's that left them for other women)

lizita - it would be worth working out an estimation of how much you think you would earn for 16 hours a week how much childcare you would pay and then giving tax credits a call to find out an approximate figure of how much you would get.

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