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To think there should be some reward for hard work?

(91 Posts)
nightowl Wed 24-Sep-14 21:25:41

DD is three weeks into her first teaching post, as a teacher of secondary English. It goes without saying that she has worked very hard to get to this point, not least because halfway through her first degree she had an unscheduled break due to the surprise arrival of DGS who is now 4. Nevertheless she went back to uni and ploughed on with great success.

I am so pleased that she has managed to get a job at the school of her choice, and that she is so far enjoying her experience. However, when I remarked that she must be looking forward to her first month's salary I was shocked to be told that she and her husband will be no better off now she is working, as they will lose tax credits.

As a lifelong socialist, who supports the concept of a fair benefits system, I am now struggling with the idea that my daughter, who appears to be working at least 50 hours a week, would be no worse off if she decided to be a stay at home mum. Of course, I absolutely think that being a stay at home mum is a very worthwhile thing, but it seems wrong that the flip side of this is that someone should be working for, in effect, no pay. My husband quite rightly points out that the only way this could not be the case is if she had been paid less in tax credits when she was a student, which doesn't seem right as they have not exactly been rolling in riches. Of course teachers (and others) should earn more but given that this is not going to happen, I can't work out in my own mind how there can be any solution that rewards effort, achievement, and success. I can't even say that she and her family will be better off as she progresses in her career, because presumably their tax credits will simply continue to be eroded until she eventually reaches a point where she earns above the threshold for tax credits. That could be a good few years down the line, when it is now that they need the income.

I have been pondering on this for days, and can't make any sense of it. I'm really hoping that some intelligent and sensible gransnetters will be able to throw some light on it for me.

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 24-Sep-14 21:40:10

What's the answer? Make all families less well off? I guess your daughter, like mine, hasn't chosen a lucrative career.

nightowl Wed 24-Sep-14 21:55:06

I know jingl but that's what I'm struggling with. I don't think there is an answer. It's hard to see them working so hard though isn't it?

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 24-Sep-14 22:06:13

Yes. It is. And I worry about her. She does get very tired. But at least her days are far from boring. I think there's a lot to be said for that.

POGS Wed 24-Sep-14 22:19:28

That's life in the real world though isn't it.

My daughter would be better off on welfare but that is not where she sees herself.

She too went to uni, has a job which should pay more, hasn't had a pay rise for almost 4 years and the sick pay is crap, only pays statutory sick pay. She stays with the company because of the flexibility to care for our DGD and it is close to home.

Funny enough she doesn't moan about her situation that's my domain. Like you I think we feel hurt for our children and want the best for them but I guess we have to accept not everybody can earn thousands and are they happier anyway?

Lilygran Wed 24-Sep-14 22:22:20

Welfare doesn't have many career prospects! Many worthwhile jobs start off on low salaries after some years unpaid training but offer opportunities and increased salary as you gain more experience.

Anya Wed 24-Sep-14 22:31:54

All the above posts resonate with me and I agree there doesn't seem to be an answer. Yet perhaps, despite the lack of money and the constant tiredness, there is that nebulous something, call it job satisfaction for lack of a better term, that makes them (our children) hang on in there. And then there's that thing called hope - a hope that in the future things will improve.

Looking back myself to when I held down a full time responsible job, and managed a young family, I remember it being tough, but still a happy and fulfilling time.

Or am I just looking back through rose tinted spectacles? hmm

durhamjen Wed 24-Sep-14 22:38:24

Teaching can be lucrative, but not in the first few years.
However, is that not what a fair benefit system is? She must earn more than the minimum wage. If she loses credits, it's because she is earning enough to lose them.
I have been reading an article by Owen Jones, called "Who are the real scroungers?" where he talks about socialism for the rich. Apparently in the first two years of the coalition government 9 in every 10 new housing benefit claims went to working households.
One conservative MP whose family is worth around £110m. who condemns social security for being unaffordable benefits from £120,000 a year through housing benefit collected from his tenants.
There will always be a lapover between those who are employed and those who rely on tax credits. It's the nature of the tax credit system.
My son's partner solved it by becoming a higher level TA, making the work/life balance a bit more in her favour.

durhamjen Wed 24-Sep-14 22:39:04

Sorry, meant overlap.

Ana Wed 24-Sep-14 22:43:36

I see it that way too, POGS and Anya. My daughter works long and hard hours but loves her job, finds if fulfilling and rewarding.

She's now a single mother of two and would probably get a similar amount of money claiming benefits, but she'd never consider that as long as she's able to work.

I've always worked, and I like to think she inherited the work ethic from me (it certainly wasn't from her father!).

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 24-Sep-14 22:46:05

My daughter gets hers from her father. Certainly not from me. grin

janeainsworth Wed 24-Sep-14 22:55:30

Jendurham saying that a landlord benefits from housing benefit being paid to his tenants is rather like saying that doctors and nurses who work in the NHS benefit from the NHS.
Of course they do - but so what?
Are you suggesting that housing benefit shouldn't be paid? In any case, it is not paid directly to landlords now.

nightowl Wed 24-Sep-14 22:56:59

Thank you for your responses. They all make a lot of sense. Having worked all my life in a decidedly non-lucrative career, I shouldn't really be surprised about the position my daughter is now in. I think as POGS says, we hurt more for our children than for ourselves. DD certainly isn't moaning, in fact she's just signed up to do a part time MA (glutton for punishment). I admire her grit, just hope she doesn't burn herself out. And in the meantime we get to look after DGS so no complaints here either smile

ninathenana Wed 24-Sep-14 23:04:29

"nine in every ten housing benefit claims went to working households"

DD is a single parent who works part time and receives working tax credits. Which is why she is not entitled to housing benefit or reduced council tax angry She would be better off not working.

rosequartz Wed 24-Sep-14 23:06:12

Job satisfaction, self-respect and the prospect of career advancement in a very worthwhile job - all good reasons to be working.
Frustration at not using her hard-earned qualifications and the fact that she may not be able to get the job she wants if she stays at home for a length of time are all considerations as well.

durhamjen Wed 24-Sep-14 23:12:19

What I am saying, Jane, is that if people in work were paid better, he would not get as much housing benefit. He says that people should not receive benefit, but benefits from housing benefit. People should be paid a living wage.

GrannyTwice Wed 24-Sep-14 23:17:48

There's also no guarantees that tax credits will continue to be available in the future anyway. And there's no occupational pension accruing with tax credits. But as others have said, it's not just about the money or the here and now but about the satisfaction of building a career, doing a good job and all that goes with that.

janeainsworth Wed 24-Sep-14 23:20:44

jen I misunderstood your post. You seemed to be critical of one particular landlord receiving £120K in housing benefit from his tenants.
But he would still receive that rental, whether the tenants' income was derived from their wages or from benefits.

Soutra Wed 24-Sep-14 23:25:04

I may be about to make myself unpopular but I am a retired scondary teacher and HoD and my eldest DD gave up a very highly paid job in the corporate sector to retrain as a secondary maths teacher so <deep breath> here goes.
I don't think a starting salary of £22K is all that bad especially compared with many young graduates especially in for instance retail. I do not know how tax credits work but I assume they are for those on low wages or still intraining. Nobody goes into education simply for the money- it is love of one's subject, love of young people, enthusiasm for the satisfaction of helping them to achieve and fulfil their potential. I would never have expected to be looking at any sort of benefits with a job in education so I fail to grasp the thread title. A career in teachinga is something to be proud of, not badly remunerated as there are excellent possibilities for additional responsibility for those who wish to progress and have the energy and enthusiasm. Of course it may be possible to take advantage of the system and be better off on benefits but is that really an option for a well educated young woman to consider? Congratulations to your DD on persevering, my own DD completed her own PGDipEd with 2 little boys under 4 while pregnant with DGD so I do understand how hard she has had to work to get where she is.

durhamjen Wed 24-Sep-14 23:45:56

Yes, Jane, but he is an MP who voted against increasing benefits in line with inflation or wages. He will get his rent wherever it comes from. But if he votes against a rise in the minimum wage, he knows it is going to be from benefits, which he has also voted against increasing. So what happens to his tenants? He also voted in favour of the bedroom tax.
He owns farms, so many of his tenants probably work for him. He also owns housing in London. To get £120,000 from housing benefit, he obviously has quite a few houses he rents out. He is, by the way, the richest MP in parliament.

durhamjen Wed 24-Sep-14 23:48:43

Jane, £120,000 isn't all the rent he gets. That's just the housing benefit.

nightowl Thu 25-Sep-14 00:17:08

Soutra not unpopular at all! and I do agree with you that teaching is a good career and not that badly paid (as public sector jobs go). I think my point is that she is working 50+ hours a week to end up with the same household income as they had when she was a student or at home just after DGS was born - so in effect it seems as if she is working for nothing at the moment, and probably for some time to come.

Congratulations to your DD, that is certainly some achievement and something to be proud of.

I take your post about the thread title, I couldn't actually decide where to put it.

Eloethan Thu 25-Sep-14 00:46:27

If it were possible financially for either a mum or dad to stay at home for the first five years to look after a child, I think that is preferable. I think it's a great shame that many parents of very young children now have to work full time in order to make ends meet.

People gain more from work than just a salary. It gives them a chance to work with others, to socialise and make friends and to gain confidence in their abilities and a sense of independence.

I don't think that £22k for a trained teacher is sufficient - and certainly not in London, although I agree that it is probably not the sort of job that one would choose if money were the main priority.

It does seem a shame that someone could be receiving as much on benefit as doing a full time - and very demanding - job. But at least in a professional job such as teaching there is a chance to move on and get promotion at some point and, to some extent at least, a sense of being in control of one's own life. I have fortunately never had to claim out-of-work benefits but I imagine it can be quite a soul-destroying and worrying situation for most people.

Dale Thu 25-Sep-14 05:08:40

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baubles Thu 25-Sep-14 07:39:14