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AIBU? think that going on UC would be better than going back after maternity leave?

578 replies

TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:07

Long time lurker but this is my first post so please be nice to me :)

Basically I don’t know what to do. My little boy is two months old and I’ve starting to look at what will happen when I go back to work next spring. After costing up childcare in the area I’m in I’d basically be paying to go back! We’d lose my entire income from the family pot.

My partner works different shifts each week so finding a different job to work around his so we can share childcare is out of the question.

My question is this. Would I be unreasonable to go on Universal Credit for a year (ish) until the free childcare element kicks in and I can afford it? Or until my partner can find a better job to support us? Or until I can find a better job that works? My family and my partners family are all saying I should (they’re all very high earners and reckon I’m should make use some of their taxes....not sure what to say to that!), but I just feel that it’s not what benefits are there for?

But in the same vein I’m struggling to see another option.

Anyone else here with personal experience?

OP posts:

TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:08

I feel I should add I've worked since I was 21...I'm now in my late 30's and this is all a bit new to me!

OP posts:

Waxonwaxoff0 · 01/12/2019 22:10

Will you be entitled to UC though? It depends what your partner's wage is. Have you done a calculator?


TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:12

I have partner earns little enough for me to be able to claim just about what my SMP pays me now.

OP posts:

Queenupnorth · 01/12/2019 22:12

I didn't go back to work. As would just be working to pay for nursery. Gonna have a look when DS is 3 and I get childcare vouchers. But I don't qualify for universal credits as partner earns 24k.


MyMushroomsInATimeSlip · 01/12/2019 22:14

Have you looked a different types of childcare. Childminders tend to be cheaper than nurseries. Are you eligible for any childcare help? How easy will it be for you to get back into a job if you leave work?


Waxonwaxoff0 · 01/12/2019 22:15

In your position I wouldn't go back then. Claim UC temporarily, there's nothing to be ashamed about. Smile


Polly111 · 01/12/2019 22:17

Have a look at the turn 2 us website and check if you’re eligible for uc. If you are eligible then you will probably get some help towards childcare anyway.


NailsNeedDoing · 01/12/2019 22:17

Of course you should go back to work. Or if you don't want to, then live off your partners salary, but don't expect the country to pay for you to have the luxury of being a sahm. That's not what benefits are supposed to be there for.


k1233 · 01/12/2019 22:18

How hard would it be for you to get a job if you leave your current job? I'd be inclined to go back to work to keep career momentum and earn my own money. Every year out of the workforce is a year you are behind when you go back IMO Every year in the workforce is a year closer to a higher pay rate.


Musereader · 01/12/2019 22:19

You would have to be on UC anyway if you want to claim childcare unless you have an existing tc claim. UC reimburses childcare at 85% or £646 per month if yhat would change the calculation for you.

UC per month would be 498.89 for you and partner, £231 for baby and 646 for childcare = 1375 plus if you rent any where between 200 to 1,200 for a 2 bedroom depending on where you are. Then minus 63% of wages over 287 (503 if you don't rent).


Polly111 · 01/12/2019 22:20

Just seen you’ve worked out your figures. Unless you really love your job I don’t think I’d bother going back, no point spending all your earnings to pay for someone else to look after your child if you’d rather do it.


Lunafortheloveogod · 01/12/2019 22:21

Would you be eligible to claim back some of your childcare costs through UC?

For us I’m better at home but we’ll get a whopping £20 UC, we’ll obviously manage fine but we’d need f/t childcare for more than 12 hours a day if we kept ds local.. but a place for an infant is like hens teeth (it’s all childminders) or 10hours minimum in where we work, which could be childminder and nursery but it’d involve dragging him out at 5.30am at the very latest and not being home till past 7pm. My wage wouldn’t cover it at all and realistically time wise it’s a lot on us and him.. At the moment dp leaves at half 7 and back by 6/6.30 and my role was 8-9 with an hour travel each way no set shifts available or set hours. Just can’t see it working until he’s older for local nursery and me getting a more flexible/local job with set days.


TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:23

@Musereader that calculation seems awfully high! The Entitled to website didn't give me anywhere near that I said, it said I could get just under what my SMP pays me now (around £600). How is it I could receive as much as that?

OP posts:

TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:25

Also to those who asked....I work in a call centre. Minimum wage with occasional bonuses. Not a high flying job I'd loathe to leave! Much rather be home with my little one than paying some-one else to raise him

OP posts:

theworldhasgonecrazy1 · 01/12/2019 22:28

I'm having the same dilemma and have decided not to go back until baby is 2. I have paid enough taxes in the past and it sounds like you have too so I'm thinking of it as claiming it back. There are people who don't work, never have and have no intention of working living off UC indefinitely so I feel no guilt at all and neither should you. Why pay someone else to look after your baby so you can earn nothing Hmm


Rainbowtheunicorn · 01/12/2019 22:29

If you have to go back full time- then no, don’t do it. You’ll get people saying that this isn’t what taxes are for etc. but there’s no point sacrificing spending time with your child because of others opinions.

Luckily, I was able to go back part time. With the tax free childcare account I am still better off each month. Plus I find now DD is a toddler it’s nice to be able to have an escape, and also keep my CV up to date.

A couple of friends of mine, who were in professional roles have got jobs in supermarkets for a few hours a week. Working around their DH’s hours. Maybe something like this would be a better solution?


TheDelorean81 · 01/12/2019 22:31

@NailsNeedDoing pretty sure the benefits system is in place to help those on low incomes who are struggling to get by?

I've worked my entire adult life. I'm not being deceitful or cheating or lying to get money off the government....I'm just trying to work out a way I can keep my family afloat. Your comment was rather scathing and not helpful in the slightest.

OP posts:

Waveysnail · 01/12/2019 22:32

Depends on your job. If its minimum wage that you came walk straight back into then no loss leaving really. However if you have a decent job then you would be daft to leave.


SlB09 · 01/12/2019 22:38

I need to work for my sanity regardless of money. It's very early days and you may find you change your mind in the coming months, just something to consider. You have to ask yourself whether you could be a full time sahp? Does work provide social interaction for you? Will it be difficult to find work in a few years time? Would you put your child into childcare anyway for a few hours regardless? Could you reduce your hours? Etc I'm sure you've probably gone through this thought process but at 8 weeks hormones are still tugging at your brain!
I think it's sad that this is the choice nowadays - when it is still primarily women who are having to make this choice.
Personally I tend to agree with PP (albeit perhaps it was put a little rudely) that if you are able to make the choice to do this and you are not forced to claim through necessity then it doesn't quite sit right with me. However on the other hand there are alot of external forces that you have no control over that make things and the system the way that it is.


SilverySurfer · 01/12/2019 22:39

Since when did claiming benefits become a lifestyle choice. How is it reasonable to expect other people to work and pay their taxes to pay your bills?

Benefits should be for those unable to work, eg sick or disabled or those who need temporary help.


NailsNeedDoing · 01/12/2019 22:40

My comment wasn't intended to be scathing at all, I was agreeing with the attitude you presented with in your first post when you said that you felt that's not what benefits were there for.

Or did you only want posts that agree with your family that because they pay a decent amount of tax that you shouldn't have to provide for yourself and half of your child?

Personally, I don't think benefits are there to enable the luxury of being a sahp. I agree that they should be there to help people that are struggling, but from what you've said, you could afford to support yourselves adequately, maybe just with help with childcare. Getting help to enable you to work is not the same as getting help to stay at home with your own child.


Rubyduby26 · 01/12/2019 22:43

I wouldn't go back if I were you. You would be working for nothing after you had paid for childcare!

I am a SAHM to my toddler, I went back to work for 3 months after my maternity leave ended and it was a nightmare for us as a family. We were always rushing around, working out who was doing drop offs and pick ups, no family time.

So we chose for me to be a SAHM and we have just cut down on our spending. We don't claim anything though as my partner earns over the threshold.

I will find something part time once DS goes to nursery at 3.


AnotherEmma · 01/12/2019 22:45

If you actually do the sums properly you will probably find that you would be better off if you returned to work.

You might be entitled to the childcare element of UC which would cover 85% of childcare costs.

Also consider things like pension contributions which aren't an immediate benefit but will make a difference in the long run.

Personally I think part time is the ideal compromise if you can get it. Is that a possibility? Make a flexible working request?


Celebelly · 01/12/2019 22:46

I'm not sure you'll get much luxury out of 500-odd quid a month tbh, although I understand the sentiment. It sounds like it'll be a stretch financially either way, so I think purely in terms of what will be better for the child, OP staying home is probably preferable.

However, I'm guessing you're unmarried and you'll therefore be in an incredibly vulnerable position if you give up your job and financial independence so that's another consideration.


Wheresthebiffer2 · 01/12/2019 22:52

Doesn't UC require you to look for work? I am a SAHM and I don't claim benefits, because I am not looking for work, I am choosing to stay at home and raise my family.

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