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How do we ensure that people are paid enough?

(94 Posts)
PippaZ Thu 23-Sep-21 08:59:33

I have long felt that paying working benefits means all the anxiety and stigma is placed on the worker. This is in spite of the fact the the benefit is one that helps the employer to pay lower wages rather than changing inequality. In fact it is getting worse.

I would be really interested to know what industrial and corporate strategy we could have where we support fledgling businesses but stop supporting some thriving businesses in this way?

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 09:41:23

I think that in-work benefits just mean that taxpayers subsidise low-paying employers.

I think the best way would be to have a legally enforceable living wage, with workers given the right to complain to an ombudsman or similar if they are not being paid it.

I don't think that fledgeling businesses should be exempt. If an employer can't pay the living wage they can't afford to employ people.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 23-Sep-21 10:29:14

I agree, but with the exception of those who are only able to work part-time (single parents) an employer is never going to pay someone that works 16 hours or under the same amount as someone working 30+ hours. This is an area where in work benefits are needed and justifiable.

The hourly rate for your job should be the same however many hours you are able to work. SME’s who employ many millions of the U.K. workforce often work on very narrow profit margins, so any increase in wages would be passed on to the end user. The large multi-nationals have larger profit margins on the whole and can/could probably absorb the increase in salaries.

(Hope this makes sense)

ElderlyPerson Thu 23-Sep-21 10:37:52

Sky News this morning had Kay Burley talking to a government minister - it might have been an earlier recording I am not sure - and I might not have caught it right but he was saying something like not reducing Universal Crediit would put a penny on income tax and I think he might have added a bit extra about something.

When I started work basic rate income tax was 30%. Then it gradually got pushed down to 20%.

For me personally I would be happy for it to go up to 22% or 23% if that increase was ringfenced so that poorer people and their children could have a decent life.

Something I experienced while out of work after redundancy was the fail culture of the Job Centre. If someone cannot get work for whatever reason they are regarded as having failed to get a job. If for whatever reason they do not get to a meeting it is called failure to attend before asking why they did not get there. After some months out of work I got a letter, a standard one, inviting me to a meeting where I could be advised and helped etc etc, then there is a paragraph something like.

If you cannot show that you have made sufficient effort to try to find work you may lose benefit.

So to me the obvious reaction to the whole letter is to generate fear, uncertainty and doubt about getting benefit and as a result the key objective is to get to that meeting with a priority not to lose benefit.

In my opinion, successive governments of whichever party seem to be unable to decide whether to try to help people who are out of work or to punish them. So if they devise a scheme to give people hope and opportunity they always add in a bit that if people refuse to take part they may lose their benefit.

So they taint what could be good with nastiness. They stigmatise saying that one has taken part in the scheme.

Then there is the myth about losing benefit for refusing to take a job that has been offered.

That is rubbish in two ways.

The first is being offered a job that one is not actively trying to get is highly unlikely. I won't say it is impossible, but has it ever happened? I suppose that one could apply for one job and another candidate gets it but one is offered a different job.

The second way is that the rules about that are that one can turn down without penalty any job that one considers would affect one's health - it does not say anything about only if a doctor agrees - and one may turn down a job that is against one's religious beliefs or one's conscience.

I remember a case that got in the media of a woman in a large shop who was told she was to work on the tobacco counter and she refused saying she was not going to sell things that make people ill. She was either suspended or sacked. Fortunately sense prevailed and she was reinstated and assigned other duties.

I know that when Sunday trading was brought in for supermarkets that the law is that nobody can be required to work on a Sunday. However, the supermarket owners accepted that happily as they made Sunday working a volunteers only activity with higher pay and had more than enough volunteers. But if the law had not been like that there could have resulted in there being distress to family life caused to some people if the employer built working on a Sunday into the job offer.

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 11:03:00

GrannyGravy13 Living wage (and minimum wage, which IMO should be the same thing - how can it be legal to pay someone less than they can live on?) is always quoted as an hourly rate, not a weekly wage or a salary.

Childcare credits could plug the gap for working parents, but would only really help if they were universal - ie applied to all parents with children under 12 (or whatever age was decided on). If they were linked to income it would end up where people couldn't afford to work more as they would lose the credits, and the point of them should be to ease people into work.

Start-up grants could go to small businesses to help them in the first years of trading, but they should not be exempt from any legislation that protects employees (such as we have left).

As ElderlyPerson has said, people on benefits are coerced into taking jobs even when the working conditions are not good, and there should not be a system which allows employers to benefit from this by making the unemployed accept poor pay and conditions on pain of losing benefits. Everyone should be protected, whether they have previously been in work or not, and whether they work for a large or small, new or established company.

ElderlyPerson Thu 23-Sep-21 11:14:59

The matter of until the children are 12.

There was a consultation and I suggested that the benefit for a stay-at-home parent should be until the first of September after the youngest child becomes 16.

My reasoning being that that would allow a child to take their GCSEs without disrupting the situation as the child could become 16 from 1 September to 31 August, so the 1 September after the child becoming 16 would protect those born on 1 September too.

In the event they chose 12.

PippaZ Thu 23-Sep-21 11:21:27

GrannyGravy13

I agree, but with the exception of those who are only able to work part-time (single parents) an employer is never going to pay someone that works 16 hours or under the same amount as someone working 30+ hours. This is an area where in work benefits are needed and justifiable.

The hourly rate for your job should be the same however many hours you are able to work. SME’s who employ many millions of the U.K. workforce often work on very narrow profit margins, so any increase in wages would be passed on to the end user. The large multi-nationals have larger profit margins on the whole and can/could probably absorb the increase in salaries.

(Hope this makes sense)

Good point GrannyGravy.

I do wonder if part-time work is good for single parents though. It may mean they never achieve what they might otherwise. Could full-time, free nursery care from 0-3 help? Plus pre-school from 3. Flexible hours can help but are not possible in all jobs.

JaneJudge Thu 23-Sep-21 11:22:19

I think 12 is quite young to let yourself in after school. Mine did it if I had to be somewhere else but they were not left for very long and my neighbour would keep an eye on the house. Not sure what would happen if you needed to work a night shift. I can't imagine having to leave a 12 year old overnight and trusting them to also get up in a morning.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 23-Sep-21 11:30:52

Alegrias1 nursery is currently free for single parents from the term after they reach two, (not sure how many sessions)

Better more affordable nursery provision is definitely needed as the costs are exorbitant here in the South East.

I do worry though that if someone suddenly becomes a single parent through no fault of their own that they would be guilt tripped into working full time when maybe part-time would be more suitable for a variety of reasons.

JaneJudge Thu 23-Sep-21 11:42:25

We also need more affordable housing and we need Fathers to pay appropriate maintenance to support their children. It's about time we stopped blaming women for stuff (not suggesting that goes on here)

GrannyGravy13 Thu 23-Sep-21 11:44:06

JaneJudge

We also need more affordable housing and we need Fathers to pay appropriate maintenance to support their children. It's about time we stopped blaming women for stuff (not suggesting that goes on here)

Here Here to Fathers paying appropriately, (our DD’s ex left his job, works cash in hand and the CSA are powerless)

Alegrias1 Thu 23-Sep-21 11:45:13

GrannyGravy13

Alegrias1 nursery is currently free for single parents from the term after they reach two, (not sure how many sessions)

Better more affordable nursery provision is definitely needed as the costs are exorbitant here in the South East.

I do worry though that if someone suddenly becomes a single parent through no fault of their own that they would be guilt tripped into working full time when maybe part-time would be more suitable for a variety of reasons.

Now I'm getting talked about on threads where I haven't even posted.

A girl could get paranoid. grin

NotSpaghetti Thu 23-Sep-21 11:54:20

I think the tax payer should not be subsidising low wages.
Set a minimum wage as one that can be lived on in a reasonable way when a full week is worked.

Yes, top up those who can't do a full week but we should not be contributing to the profits of companies.

PippaZ Thu 23-Sep-21 12:00:32

GrannyGravy13

Alegrias1 nursery is currently free for single parents from the term after they reach two, (not sure how many sessions)

Better more affordable nursery provision is definitely needed as the costs are exorbitant here in the South East.

I do worry though that if someone suddenly becomes a single parent through no fault of their own that they would be guilt tripped into working full time when maybe part-time would be more suitable for a variety of reasons.

I wondered if that was a reply to my post as I can't find one from Alegrais - except saying she hasn't posted.

I wouldn't want anyone to be "guilt-tripped". However, sometimes needs must and not getting back to work and possibly making a career for yourself can affect the whole of a women's life and her children's.

GrannyGravy13 Thu 23-Sep-21 12:01:47

Sorry Alegrias1

My post was to PippaZ

(nite to self do not use GN as a distraction, as I even c**k that up grin

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 12:11:23

PippaZ

GrannyGravy13

Alegrias1 nursery is currently free for single parents from the term after they reach two, (not sure how many sessions)

Better more affordable nursery provision is definitely needed as the costs are exorbitant here in the South East.

I do worry though that if someone suddenly becomes a single parent through no fault of their own that they would be guilt tripped into working full time when maybe part-time would be more suitable for a variety of reasons.

I wondered if that was a reply to my post as I can't find one from Alegrais - except saying she hasn't posted.

I wouldn't want anyone to be "guilt-tripped". However, sometimes needs must and not getting back to work and possibly making a career for yourself can affect the whole of a women's life and her children's.

It shouldn't matter whether someone becomes a single parent through no fault of their own or by deliberate design. We don't want to go back to deserving and undeserving poor, do we?

I think that a lot of people would like to work part-time and let the state pay for the rest of the week, but unless that option is open to all, I don't see why it should be the prerogative of single parents. Either coupled-up parents and the child-free should have the option too, or it should not be available at all.

ElderlyPerson, if a 15/16 year old is not able to be alone in the house for an hour or two after school I would be worried about them, to be honest. At 16 they can marry or join the army - they need to be gaining independence long before then. I suggested 12 for childcare credits, but I suppose if parents were unhappy with leaving them older than that they could come to arrangements with friends - I really don't see why we should all be paying for teenagers to go into childcare.

Having said that, in areas where there are problems with gangs, maybe it would help - but it would have to be compulsory if it is to reach the teenagers who most need help, and I just can't see that being acceptable to parents or children, really.

MaizieD Thu 23-Sep-21 12:14:17

Sky News this morning had Kay Burley talking to a government minister - it might have been an earlier recording I am not sure - and I might not have caught it right but he was saying something like not reducing Universal Crediit would put a penny on income tax and I think he might have added a bit extra about something.

The government minister is talking nonsense. The extra £20 uplift is stimulating the economy, to the tune of £6billion a year. It all returns to the treasury by way of taxation because none of it is saved by the recipients, it's desperately needed to buy food and necessities.

If the £6 billion p.a that it costs were to be taken from the higher paid as tax, it would still be removing £6billion from the economy, just from different people in the economy. Which means people in dire poverty and no compensatory growth.

I do hope people understand my reasoning.

Thinking of the national budget in the same way as a household budget is wrong.

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 12:24:07

The accounts of people fearing the £20 cut are heartbreaking.

The thinking behind it can only be punitive, which is cruel and, as you say, Maisie, detrimental to the economy.

I read somewhere (sorry to be vague) that the majority of donations to foodbanks come from people on or below average income, too - so we have a situation where the poor are supporting the poorer, so that they can stay in work that profits the rich (or looks after the vulnerable and has been paid for by the tax and NI of everyone in work, including those using the foodbanks). It is farcical.

MaizieD Thu 23-Sep-21 12:24:32

I think that a lot of people would like to work part-time and let the state pay for the rest of the week, but unless that option is open to all, I don't see why it should be the prerogative of single parents. Either coupled-up parents and the child-free should have the option too, or it should not be available at all.

I find it quite bizarre that you have to work to earn the money to pay other people to look after your child. Why should parents be penalised if they want to spend part of their time looking after their own children?

I do realise that this is a very simplistic view and that the position is very complex, but it would be interesting to think about how some sort of 'childcare allowance' might be devised for parents who want to do their own childcare (even if it were only one or two days a week).

MaizieD Thu 23-Sep-21 12:27:28

^ (or looks after the vulnerable and has been paid for by the tax and NI of everyone in work, including those using the foodbanks).^

I'm sorry, Doodledog, but I do not understand this sentence at all. Can you clarify what you were saying?

ElderlyPerson Thu 23-Sep-21 12:35:07

MaizieD

^Sky News this morning had Kay Burley talking to a government minister - it might have been an earlier recording I am not sure - and I might not have caught it right but he was saying something like not reducing Universal Crediit would put a penny on income tax and I think he might have added a bit extra about something.^

The government minister is talking nonsense. The extra £20 uplift is stimulating the economy, to the tune of £6billion a year. It all returns to the treasury by way of taxation because none of it is saved by the recipients, it's desperately needed to buy food and necessities.

If the £6 billion p.a that it costs were to be taken from the higher paid as tax, it would still be removing £6billion from the economy, just from different people in the economy. Which means people in dire poverty and no compensatory growth.

I do hope people understand my reasoning.

Thinking of the national budget in the same way as a household budget is wrong.

Unfortunately I don't.

If the poorer people get to keep the extra money as they have been, then clearly it has to come from somewhere.

So if they got some of the money indirectly from a better off person via the government, then ultimately the richer person has less money to either spend or save for later as he or she chooses between the two.

So the richer person loses a bit but some poor person or their child gets more than they would otherwise get.

So what is the problem with that?

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 12:42:37

MaizieD

^ (or looks after the vulnerable and has been paid for by the tax and NI of everyone in work, including those using the foodbanks).^

I'm sorry, Doodledog, but I do not understand this sentence at all. Can you clarify what you were saying?

Sorry. Yes, I'll try (believe it or not, English is my first language 😂. I'm multi-tasking, though.)

People donating to foodbanks are helping to keep others in work. In some cases (eg when the users are Amazon delivery drivers) this helps them to stay in work to boost the profits of the rich. In others (eg when the users are carers or nurses) this helps to keep them in work in an NHS that has already been paid for by everyone (including the people donating to and using the foodbanks).

Doodledog Thu 23-Sep-21 13:00:41

MaizieD

^I think that a lot of people would like to work part-time and let the state pay for the rest of the week, but unless that option is open to all, I don't see why it should be the prerogative of single parents. Either coupled-up parents and the child-free should have the option too, or it should not be available at all.^

I find it quite bizarre that you have to work to earn the money to pay other people to look after your child. Why should parents be penalised if they want to spend part of their time looking after their own children?

I do realise that this is a very simplistic view and that the position is very complex, but it would be interesting to think about how some sort of 'childcare allowance' might be devised for parents who want to do their own childcare (even if it were only one or two days a week).

No reason why not - but any allowance should go to all, IMO. Not just people who become single parents through no fault of their own, and not just to single parents - there are plenty of couples earning less than one single parent, but paying two lots of tax, NI, commuting charges and so on.

It does seem bizarre that you have to work to pay someone else to look after your child, but unless we have kibbutzim or state creches (neither of which would get my vote) then people have to look after their own children, or pay someone else to do so.

A 'childcare allowance' paid as a top-up to those who could afford not to work and choose to stay at home would be most unfair on those who have no choice but to go to work, as they would be subsidising the better off. Wraparound care before and after school (available to all) would be a better option, IMO.

PippaZ Thu 23-Sep-21 13:58:17

We seem to have moved on to childcare rather than how we can ensure all employers pay a proper living wage. Perhaps it is because of childcare but I am not sure that it is.

MaizieD Thu 23-Sep-21 13:59:08

I did say I hadn't really worked it out!

When I started thinking about it I was waltzing off into the realms of how our working patterns are still something of a product of Victorian factory work requirements; then into the dreaded 'Protestant Work Ethic' and why should parents be kept apart from their children during their very early development and why is looking after someone else's child valued through payment, when the work of a parent (or grandparent), doing the same thing, not regarded as having any monetary value.. Just musing rather than a fully thought out concept

I wasn't thinking of state creches or kibbutzim! (Although we entrust the state with our children's education...)