Universal Credit and Zero-Hours Contract

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Hi there.

Here's a brief explanation of my circumstances;

I've just accepted a job offer for a job that's on a zero-hours contract. I've never had a job with a ZHC before and I'm wondering what the set up is regarding Universal Credit.

The pay is ok for the type of work (£7.80 per hour), but I've got no idea how many shifts my new employer is going to offer me so I've got no idea how much money I'll have coming in. Therefore I'm not 100% sure whether or not I'll be better off compared to being on the dole.

I live in an area that's recently replaced JSA with UC for new claimants so does anyone know if UC can be used to top-up my income if I don't get offered that many shifts to work? And will I have to repeatedly keep opening and closing claims if there are periods where there's little or no work for me to do?

Also I'm 25, single, have no dependents and living with my parents. I remember hearing something in the news at the time of last years budget about people in my situation no longer being eligible for the work component of Universal Credit. I'm not sure if this is still the case.

Thank you in advance for any help or advice anyone has to offer.

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  • NYM
    NYM Posts: 4,066 Forumite
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    I don't know if this may help answer some questions .....

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418186/uc-and-employers-faq.pdf

    .....Universal Credit is designed to be responsive to fluctuations in earnings. In weeks
    where a claimant has lower or no income from their zero hours contract job, Universal
    Credit payments will automatically increase at the next payment date. The flexibility of
    these types of contracts is attractive to some individuals, but people on Universal Credit
    are not required to accept zero hours contracts which require exclusivity
    .....
  • Batman_100
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    Thanks for posting that, I've read the whole article and it doesn't say anything about whether it would apply to someone in my circumstances.

    I've looked at the UC section on the Turn 2 Us website and that says something about a basic entitlement of £317.83 per month. Is thins given to everyone, and will my income never drop below this amount.

    Also I can't find anything about the work component. I understand this is the replacement for tax credits, so it not going to be introduced for a few more years?
  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
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    This link may help you which gives the criteria for applying for UC.

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/universal-credit/before-you-apply/universal-credit-eligibility/

    There is also a contact number for enquiries.
  • Mersey_2
    Mersey_2 Posts: 1,679 Forumite
    edited 3 February 2016 at 2:00AM
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    Batman_100 wrote: »
    Therefore I'm not 100% sure whether or not I'll be better off compared to being on the dole.

    I live in an area that's recently replaced JSA with UC for new claimants so does anyone know if UC can be used to top-up my income if I don't get offered that many shifts to work? And will I have to repeatedly keep opening and closing claims if there are periods where there's little or no work for me to do?

    Also I'm 25, single, have no dependents and living with my parents. I remember hearing something in the news at the time of last years budget about people in my situation no longer being eligible for the work component of Universal Credit. I'm not sure if this is still the case.

    Thank you in advance for any help or advice anyone has to offer.


    Those changes are currently going through Parliament (in the Lords at the moment), so April 2016 is the very earliest the changes to the work allowance element of UC will take place.


    In theory, you're ideal for UC at the moment, in that you're aged 25 and single and a UC claim doesn't close as a JSA claim did with every new short-term job. The rightsnet site and forums are probably best, as they're the most up-to-date on Universal Credit, ie JCP/DWP staff are still being trained on UC rollout and its impact.


    But, in terms of earnings/income, an employer provides this - or you would to the UC national contact centre Tel line if you were self-employed - each month and what you earns would alter your next month's UC payment. So yes, UC tops up low earnings in that sense. [The monthly UC payment also includes a housing element, but this won't apply to your claim as you live at home.]
    Please be polite to OPs and remember this is a site for Claimants and Appellants to seek redress against their bank, ex-boss or retailer. If they wanted morality or the view of the IoD or Bank they'd ask them.
  • Batman_100
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    Thank you. Do you know what the ending of the work allowance will mean in practice? Also I imagine their is no point asking staff at my local job centre for help as I understand they're only able to give advice using the law as it exists at the time and aren't allowed to discuss possible future changes in the law.
  • hbn
    hbn Posts: 1 Newbie
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    Hi. Apologies for bumping this but I have a question about a similar situation. Like the OP, I'm 25, single, have no dependants but live with my dad (who is on incapacity benefit) and elder brother, who works and pays board.

    I am also on a zero-hours contract and have been for the past one-and-a-bit years. Since starting, my terms got updated that offered me at least one shift a week, however since the place I work is far away, I require use of their agency bus or a lift from work. The bus isn't always ran, it depends on how busy the place is. I am aware that the work offered cannot force exclusivity anymore.

    Anyway I'm wondering how my household situation may affect my entitlement to Universal Credit. I'm unsure what the rollout status is in my area, though since it automatically adjusts to how much you work, it seems attractive to me in terms of not having to mess about constantly signing on and off every single time work picks up and dies down. The last time I signed on was last year after work was dead for a few weeks and my holidays were used up. As soon as I signed on, a call came in that work was on offer and so I signed off.

    Does household income from other family members affect my entitlement to Universal Credit or is it totally based on my income only? My brother's income is his own and the only money he pays into the household is through his boarding. Meanwhile I also pay boarding since my dad cannot keep me for free. I'm also interested in hearing from others in my situation, exactly how this works. Since I technically have a job, albeit unstable and fluctuating employment, is it subject to the same conditions as Jobseekers' Allowance is/was or is it different?

    I don't claim any other benefits.
  • cupid07
    cupid07 Posts: 126 Forumite
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    It shouldn't be affected by your household income but for every £1 you earn working, your universal credit will be deducted by 65p.
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