Possibly going to be made redundant - help!

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Hi, wonder if I could get a bit of advice as found myself in a new situation. I've also posted this on the redundancy board but feel there may be some different answers from on here.

My wife and I both work as tutors for the same training company that has been going through some difficulties for the last few months. We are on 0 hours contracts and get given an allocation of learners, normally around 20 on a monthly basis. The learners take between 8 - 12 weeks to complete their course, so in effect we have a roll on - roll off programme, always people starting, progressing and completing. We get paid a set amount for each enrolment and then again when they complete. This obviously means that our salary fluctuates each month, so we have a rainy day fund.

The company has had difficulty in getting funding since just before Christmas and there have been various other issues with the awarding body more recently, which has meant that we have been unable to enrol anyone since early March (and we've not had many learners in the run up to that). This has meant that my wife now has no learners left and I only have 6 on my books, which equates to a pay next month of £600.

What we need to know (as well as my colleagues who are spread around the country and in the same boat) is the following:

1) Are we entitled to any benefits - previously our income has been too high to entitle us to anything, including Child Tax and Working Families. We went to the job centre earlier today but they said we need to go through their online form before they can see us (which we are doing next)?

2) If we do sign on how does that affect us if the company sorts itself out and any work does come in and also by signing on does it mean we are not working for them anymore?

3) How does redundancy pay work in a situation like this (0 hour contract) - I have been with them for over 5 years and the have normally earned around £36k pa? My wife only joined them in July '15, so we don't expect she would get anything.

4) If I was to get a second job to see us through and the company folded would I still be eligible for redundancy (same if I signed on)?

5) If no work is coming through are we able to claim redundancy without the company actually folding?

We have already put our home up for sale (a month back, partly because we could see the way the situation was going and partly because we knew that we couldn't afford it if we had to change jobs and take a drop in income). We have also cleared out our rainy day fund, borrowed money from parents and our credit cards are maxed out (all on 0% and there is enough equity in the house to clear them and other bank loans once we sell).

To also add into the mix, I have an ex-wife to pay maintenance to for my 3 children, this is obviously going to massively drop, which will in turn affect her income (she doesn't work but that's a whole different story). Will she be able to claim more to see her through whilst we get back on our feet (at the moment I have been maintaining the payments but she has been massively overpaid this year. We get on well at the mo and I would like to keep that status quo going but I'm not going to bankrupt us just to keep her happy).

Much appreciated for any helpful advice you can give, we are really scared about the situation and are not getting answers to any questions we ask management.

Comments

  • Caz3121
    Caz3121 Posts: 15,561 Forumite
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    can't help with the redundancy point but as far as your child maintenance, this will not affect your ex-s benefits so any benefits she receives will remain the same whether you pay the same, double, half or nothing
  • pmlindyloo
    pmlindyloo Posts: 13,051 Forumite
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    I see you have posted on the redundancy board and just wanted to say that I disagree with the first poster.

    You first need to look at your contract (is it an employment contract or a contract for services?) Does it say anything about redundancy pay there?

    Next have a read of this link:

    http://www.lawdonut.co.uk/law/employment-law/working-time-hours-leave-flexible-working/guide-to-zero-hours-contracts-for-employers

    There is a distinction between when a 'worker' becomes an employee so if there is no mention of redundancy pay in your contract then you are going to have to seek specialist advice about the redundancy.

    This is important because, at the moment they are just saying there is no more work, rather than the company is having financial difficulties (and maybe 'closing down'?')

    OK, on to the benefits side.

    You say your wife has no work now. Was she working previously and paying class 1 NI contributions for the last couple of tax years? If so then she would be eligible for contribution based JSA? At the moment your income of £600 a month means it is too high to do a joint claim of income based JSA.

    This is, to be honest, a bit of a mess because you do not know what is going to happen with your jobs.

    My opinion?

    Find out about the redundancy angle first.

    On a zero hours contract you can work at other jobs so I would advise both of you to find other jobs, anything to get in some income until you know the position with your current job.

    Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for tax credits but would have to give an estimate for this next year which will be difficult.

    So, get some advice about the redundancy situation.
    Both of you find other work, temporary if necessary.
    Both of you find permanent jobs when you can/if you need to.

    The benefits side will be complicated because of all the uncertainty.
  • NeilCr
    NeilCr Posts: 4,430 Forumite
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    Might be worth a visit to your local CAB or advice centre. There is an awful lot going on here and once you get set up there you will be able to go back as the situation changes
  • Topcat1982
    Topcat1982 Posts: 391 Forumite
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    1) Do you have more children who live with you and your wife?
  • michaelsutherland
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    Hi, yes we have 2 children (my wifes). We went to the Job Centre today but they would only see one of us - for some reason they decided it was going to be my wife they saw. They said it was because it was a joint claim - thought they would have wanted to see both of us (whether together or alone), but they wouldn't let me in. So the pressure to work is all on her, she has to show her job search details but not me. Really not sure if that is correct, surely we should both be claiming (I have only signed on for 3 weeks in the last 24 years).
  • Topcat1982
    Topcat1982 Posts: 391 Forumite
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    Hi, yes we have 2 children (my wifes). We went to the Job Centre today but they would only see one of us - for some reason they decided it was going to be my wife they saw. They said it was because it was a joint claim - thought they would have wanted to see both of us (whether together or alone), but they wouldn't let me in. So the pressure to work is all on her, she has to show her job search details but not me. Really not sure if that is correct, surely we should both be claiming (I have only signed on for 3 weeks in the last 24 years).

    OK so you need to claim child tax credits for these 2 along with the child benefit.

    Hopefully the CAB will advise you on the redundancy etc
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