UC Reduce hours to care for partner, and childcare costs
Mum stopped work to care for ill partner. Does not have capacity to both care for 1yo child and partner. Could she retain a few hours of work to enable childcare costs to still be paid?
I know there isn’t a lower limit on working hours - but what are the implications? Say she reduces to work 1h/week - but keeps full childcare. Aside from the 1 hour, the childcare costs clearly aren’t there to enable her to work, but to manage her care.
The provisions which are relevant are regs 33(1)(b) and 34(2).
An hours work a week is pretty improbable with most employers, but clearly raises the question of whether the childcare is needed to enable that work at all.
If your client had something more realistic like 4-8 hours per week but had their child in full-time childcare, the DWP could curtail the payments accordingly.
And obviously your client still ends up out of pocket for 15% of the costs in the best case scenario
Thanks Elliot, makes a lot more sense looking at the regs (and I should have had the wits to do that earlier. Just running in my hamster wheel today).
The work condition is easy to meet, but the childcare costs condition is that the childcare is to enable the claimant to work - so there has to be a link between the work and the amount of childcare.
I haven’t paid for any childcare for a few years, but my recollection is that it tends to be charged by the half day. So if you had a job doing an hour of cleaning every afternoon, it might be arguable that you needed five half days per week.
If you had a zero hours job, I think you might struggle to find childcare where you could just choose to drop your darling progeny off on irregular days depending on whether you had been offered a shift (given that they need to be able to plan ahead and make sure they maintain the staff:child ratio). So in that case you could probably make a fairly good argument that you need to pay for childcare every day to enable you to take work when it’s offered.
I haven’t ever come across a case where UC challenged a client on the amount of childcare compared to the work they were doing. I don’t know whether this is because most people would tend to take the minimum amount of paid childcare necessary (as Elliott says, they’re still paying 15%), or whether it’s because UC don’t actually worry too much about it.
But if your client’s plan is to get childcare so she can carry out unpaid work then I’d say she’s clearly risking challenge and overpayment.[ Edited: 9 Nov 2023 at 03:39 pm by Timothy Seaside ]