I’m still trying to decide whether to go back to work, and to make all the mini decisions that go with the larger one.
Last week I finally bit the bullet and made some calls to some government departments. After a morning listening to Vivaldi, I’m fairly sure that all benefits are paid from the phone charges. If they’re not, they should be. We’d all be rich.
If I go back to work:
|Artist’s impression of me at work|
- My pay will stop in January, but they will hold my job open until May.
- I will need to find childcare for S. If I use a childminder, this is around £100 a week. Despite several phone calls and messages, I’ve not been able to get a response from the nursery closest to me as to what their costs would be
- Regarding payment for childcare, there are two options. My employers are part of the childcare vouchers scheme, which is a salary sacrifice set-up. I can opt to have a maximum of £243 per month taken from my pay (before tax and NI) to be paid to my childcare provider. Or I can have my Working Tax Credits help with childcare costs. They will pay “up to” 70% of the cost of my childcare. But if I do the childcare vouchers thing, I can’t get Tax Credits for my childcare. Unless my childcare is more than £243 per month, in which case I can apply for Tax Credits to pay “up to” 70% of the difference. It’s almost as if they’re trying to trick you into being out of pocket.
- My employers are obliged to provide me with a place I can express breast milk for S while at work, but only until she is a year old – so April. After that I suppose everyone thinks she should be fully weaned, and to hell with whether she actually is or not.
- As far as I can tell, I will be earning just enough that I won’t qualify for Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Benefit.
- I would qualify for free prescriptions, eye tests, dentist, etc.
- From a pre-tax pay of around £200 a week I will have to pay £85 rent, £25 council tax, childcare, gas, electricity, food, water… I’m no mathlete, but I can’t see how that adds up. Little bit worried. It’s difficult to get any sort of prediction as to what my Tax Credits would be.
- Income Support is £71 a week.
- I would get Child Tax Credits, but (obviously) not Working Tax Credits.
- I would qualify for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit
- I think I would get some sort of vouchers for fruit and milk.
- I can stay on Income Support until S is 5, if I so wish. The thought of five years of daytime telly is a bit horrid though.
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