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Working Part Time or Full Time?

Working part time or full time
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If you’re considering working part time or full time, it can be a minefield when you’re trying to work out which will make you better off. There’s an increase in income for full time employees, but this needs to be weighed up against the higher childcare costs and the financial help you could receive if you work part time. This guide provides you with useful information on the benefits available to those working on low incomes.

There are now over 8 million people in the UK who are working part time. For many parents this is often a lifestyle decision, with one or both partners working part time in order to care for their children. However, during the economic downturn many workers have been forced to work less hours. Those who work part time and receive a low income may be entitled to additional benefits to help supplement their wages.

Tax CreditsWorking part time or full time

Child Tax Credits can be claimed by anyone with a child under the age of 16 or under 20 if they’re in certain forms of education or training. You may also be entitled to Working Tax Credit if you’re employed. In order to be eligible you must work at least 16 hours a week if you’re a single parent and couples must work at least 24 hours between them (one partner must do at least 16 hours).

There are different income thresholds depending on your circumstances: how many children you have, how many hours you work, whether you pay for childcare and if you have a child with a disability. However, the basic guideline is that if you earn under £26,000 with one child and under £32,000 with two or more children, you may be entitled to some form of help. If you’re unsure as to whether you qualify or not you should claim so that you don’t lose out.

Childcare

One of the biggest expenses when you’re working with children can be the cost of childcare. If you use a form of registered childcare while you’re at work you may also be able to receive help with the costs. You can claim up to a maximum of 70% of the costs, up to £175 a week for one child and £300 a week for two or more. There are different criteria for registered providers, but they usually cover nurseries, childminders and out of school clubs. For couples you both need to be working at least 16 hours a week to be eligible.

Some people who claim Tax Credits and have a low income may also be entitled to help with certain NHS costs. The Exemption Certificate provides free prescriptions, dental care and eyesight tests, as well as help with the costs of glasses and contact lenses.Working part time or full time

Additional help for those on low incomes

Income Support can still be claimed by those on a low wage if you’re employed for less than 16 hours a week and you have a child under the age of five.

If you rent your house either privately or through a council or housing association you may be able to claim some housing benefit if your income is below a certain level. The amount you receive will be based on the average rent for a house in your area, the number of children and adults living in the property and your income. You may lose a percentage of this if you live in social housing and are deemed to have spare bedrooms.

Tax Allowance

If you’re starting to work part time you should be aware of the personal allowance limit you’re entitled to before you start paying income tax. For the current financial year (up to April 2014) each employee is allowed to earn up to £9,440 before they pay any tax. Therefore, if your part time wage is under this you won’t have any tax deducted.

Child Benefit

Child Benefit used to be a universal benefit that everyone with children was entitled to claim. However, there is now the High Income Child Benefit Charge for workers who earn over a set amount. If either you or your partner has an income of over £50,000 you will lose part of your payment. The amount deducted depends on how much you receive and your income. However, workers who earn over £60,000 will have the full amount taken off.

When you’re looking for a new position make sure you look into all the options available to you and decide which will make you better off. Sometimes the practicalities and additional costs involved in full time work mean that a part time position may be more realistic.

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About Catherine Stern

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About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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