Employers can’t offer the hours parents need
Working Families’ employer survey shows parents can’t get extra hours to retain Working Tax Credit.
Working Families is concerned about the changes to Working Tax Credit from April 2012 which mean that couples currently working 16 hours must increase those hours to 24 (with one parent working at least 16 hours) in order to continue to receive WTC. Working Families runs a free telephone legal helpline and receives about two calls a day from parents concerned about how they will cope without tax credits.
We carried out a quick survey of employers representing around a quarter of a million employees, to find out their likely responses when their employees ask for more hours of work. We found:
• Two thirds of employers who responded are unaware of the changes to WTC rules
• Less than a fifth of employers (17 per cent) are confident of accommodating a request for eight more hours of work. A further 33 per cent said they may be able to offer some hours, but not eight, while 17 per cent said it was “unlikely” or “impossible” to accommodate a request.
• When asked about the impact on business if an employee left because they couldn’t get more hours of work, only 17 per cent said “business would suffer”. Fifty six per cent thought it would be a “minor inconvenience” and 17 per cent were confident that they could easily recruit a replacement.
• Only half of employers would create jobs of less than 16 hours a week if they thought there was demand for them from parents.
Working Families Chief Executive, Sarah Jackson, commented:
“The change to the Working Tax Credit rules are harsh: parents will find that it is no longer worth staying in work. Many of our callers have one parent (often the mother) in a part time job, struggling to make ends meet after the other parent has been made redundant. It isn’t for want of trying that these parents can’t get more work: our survey shows employers can’t offer them what they need to stay out of poverty.
“We call on the Government to reverse this change in the forthcoming budget. Until the economy picks up, making parents look for work that just isn’t there and taking away tax credits is all stick and no carrot.”
Notes to editors
Working Families is the UK’s leading work-life organisation. The charity supports and gives a voice to working parents and carers, whilst also helping employers create workplaces which encourage work-life balance for everyone. The Working Families Freephone legal helpline for parents, carers and their advisers gives advice on employment rights and benefits. The helpline is run by a team of solicitors and advisers and has a Quality Mark from Community Legal Services. Call free on 0800 013 0313, text 07800 00 4722 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Working Families carried out a survey of employers between 7 and 28 February 2012. We received 18 completed responses, mostly from private sector employers covering a range of industries including retail, manufacturing and professional services. These employers between them employ over 240,000 employees.
Will Hadwen, Rights Adviser at Working Families is taking part in Radio 4’s Moneybox on Wednesday 7th March and will discuss part-time work http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/moneybox/9700831.stm
Working Families has added their signature to an open letter to the Prime Minister asking for a postponement in the change to tax credits.
For more information contact
Liz Whitehead, Press Office on 020 7253 7243 or email email@example.com
Liz Gardiner, Policy Officer on 020 7253 7243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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