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Government Incentives for Returning to Work

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 25 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Government Incentives Return To Work

It’s not just the extra sandwiches and tube pass that you have to think about. It’s child care, dry cleaning and not having the time to do your own ironing, amongst all sorts of other issues.

Returning to Work can be a Costly Affair

There are so many benefits available for people that do not work, the UK government has been criticised for making it easier not to work than it is to actually work and contribute to the country.

Consequently, in recent years there has been a marked effort to increase the incentives for people to return to work, rather than make it easier to stay at home. This, of course, has all sorts of implications and considerations because there are all sorts of people. Some people want to work but ‘can’t afford to’ because of the cost of childcare or the fact that they will barely break even if they do go out to work.

Other people realise that if they work over a certain amount of hours (16 hours at the time of writing) they will have benefits cut that outweigh the income they will earn.

These issues, and others, lead to many people realising that, basically, they were better off not working. This is not to say that many of these people did not want to work, but felt that it was a false economy.

How to Ask

If you are keen to return to work but are not sure what your financial position will be, it is a good idea to look into all the potential government incentives available. Many such incentives are available only if you apply for them and some are automatic as long as you give the right people the right information. For example, to receive working tax credits you need to make sure that the Inland Revenue has up to date information on you and your family situation.

Where to Start

Your local job centre is a good place to start because, even if you have never claimed any benefits before, the experts there will know where to ‘sign post’ you to get the appropriate advice.

There is also a very helpful government phone line to call for advice. You can either find the number by asking at your local Inland Revenue office or looking on the Department of Work and Pensions website, which also has a great deal of information online. It is on this website that you can answer a series of questions that helps you to understand what you may or may not be entitled to – it has been written very clearly and is geared up to making sure people get everything they are entitled to in order to make the return to work as easy as possible.

Possible Incentives

The types of incentives that you may be entitled to include tax credits for working families, child care vouchers to help pay for costly childcare, start up incentives for people looking to start their own businesses and there is a new scheme being discussed proposing cash incentives to encourage stay at home mums to return to work.

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