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Thread: Returning to work - was it worth it

  1. #1

    Default Returning to work - was it worth it

    Hi all,



    I need to decide fairly soon if I am going back to work part-time (DS is almost 5 months). I've done the figures with CL and it seems that (for example) if I earned $10 grand for the year, I would lose about $8 grand in CL. To me this doesn't really seem worth it, by the time you count petrol/car costs, work clothes etc. (DH would look after DS so no child care costs).

    However, it seems kind of crazy that I'm better off staying with CL than working! I was wondering if anyone else has found themselves in this position? Long-term, of course, we'd like to be earning much more than we are now. But for the hassle (feeding-wise) and sadness of leaving DS I can't justify returning to work. But it seems I would need to be working virtually full-time (which isn't an option right now anyway) for the money to be worth it.

    Any thoughts (and please let's not turn this into a debate about CL - I'm interested in your experiences - thanks )?

  2. #2

    Default

    Its not worth it on some incomes. But there's always a sweet spot - this will be just under the cut off for whatever payment you are on.

    Its different amounts if you are single or not. I have passive (ie, no need for childcare) income of a few $100 a month, I lose $10 a fortnight in CL at the moment, but a few weeks ago I lost $100 a fortnight for the same income, so it also depends on what payment you are on. I don't get the full amount of anything from CL but if I was single I'd get the full everything and then some more again. Bit hard to answer this one without more details ...

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks RumpledElf

    Have pmd you more details

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Can't your DH go back to work? Or does he work from home?

    I think it depends on what you are doing for employment. For me, career-wise, it was good to go back to work. I was back at work by the time both my children were 13 weeks old. And yes, they were in childcare. After losing FTB and paying for childcare/travel/lunch/clothes, I was making less than $20 a day going to work... but it was better for my career to be back at work rather than at home with the children. And my XH was useless in the work/home department (well that's just one of the reasons he's the XH anyway!)

    Only you can know what's best for your family. Best wishes.

  5. #5

    Default

    Hi Divvy,

    Thanks for that. DH works some days outside of home, some days at home. I get your point career wise (you must be very dedicated to do it knowing that you were only netting $20!), but for me that's not an issue (nowhere to go in my career LOL). But it's good to know that in some circumstances returning to work is more than about the $$ - I guess I need to look at it all a bit more holistically!

  6. #6

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    Well I'm a professional, so being "seen" at work is very very important. And if I take too much time off, things change so quickly that it's more difficult to get back into the groove of things. I ended up leaving XH when DS2 was 1, so having the career was extremely important. I am the sole provider for my children now.

    Good luck!

  7. #7

    Default

    I sent you a PM ...

    I work from home, but with a newborn I really can't do much, I find I only have one hand most of the time and I don't have long stretches where I can actually think, so I seem to be spending way more time than I should doing pointless stuff like reading forums and blogs Hopefully things get more productive in a few months.

    When I was single I fiddled my hours to be just under the thresholds, I paid almost nothing for childcare with the rebates, I got rent assistance, by the time you added all that up and factored in tax, hecs and childcare if I was fulltime, it was the equivalent money to a fulltime job on around twice the wage. If I had been part of a couple I wouldn't have got a cent from CL. You're "supposed" to both be working or one of the couple earns a high wage, its not set up for two low earners.

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Default Returning to work - was it worth it

    Yes, I did the sums and for me it definitely wasn't worth returning to work. It would have actually COST me. This was mainly because DH is on a very good income and I am not capable of earning a professional income, yet. My work experience included childcare and hospitality... Both very poorly paid. Also with two children in childcare (at the time) that alone would have cost over $600 per week as DH earns too much to get any rebate. We also have a DD in a private school and money is too tight for me to work and risk it becoming tighter. Me staying at home just made financial sense... Plus the cincher was that I have a chronic health condition that means I have very poor quality sleep. I hope to complete a Dip Ed and become a teacher and eventually earn a professional wage... But not until my youngest is at school. It just makes sense for US on so many levels.

  9. #9

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    I am working at the minute and am due to leave work ta the end of the eyar to have child #2, childcare cost me $1100 a month so though even i you get a sibling rate at ceche I would be only $500 better off a month. If I choose to stay home I would get more from CL and it would work out the same as if I was working and I would be paying for travel to and from work and long hours rushing aorund getting dinner etc. It will be abit tight either way but when my children are old enough I might have a career change and do something else. I think its just they way things are these days with both parents work as hings are alot more dearer than a few generations ago.
    I think every situation is different from the next and its up to the individual families themselves to decide.

  10. #10
    clare076 Guest

    Default

    I work 22 hours a week, with my son going to daycare 3 days a week and my daughter 2 (plus after school care one day a week). It costs me about $700 a fortnight in day care costs as we dont get the initial child care rebate, I earn about $1100 a fortnight. We also do not get any FTB, so in actual fact I get paid about $200 a fortnight (after you deduct what I would get from FTB if I stayed home). I have to drive 50kms every monday to collect my kids from daycare plus the additional stress of dragging them out of bed to get ready to go. BUT because I work 15 hours a week we get 50% out of pocket expenses back from centrelink every quarter.
    I love my work and even though it doesnt seem worth it at the moment, I wouldnt have it any other way. I enjoy my child free time and I know that as time goes by the cost of day care will go down for us.

  11. #11

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    As everyone else has said,it's all about what works for you. For us, it's worth it financially, although I have recently had to take on an extra day at work (not my choice) and we aren't really any better off for it. So for me, 3 days is that 'sweet spot'.

    It will be different for everyone, certainly financially as there are all kinds of things which affect it, but also because only you know what it's worth to you.

  12. #12

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    Surprised, sometimes the benefit of returning to work is more of a cumulative one over a longer period of time than an immediate one. You're right, you may have work clothes costs but it's not like that's a cost you have every fortnight (eg I just bought a $75 pair of shoes but they will last me a good 12-18 months), likewise there may be some travel savings (eg by public transport or sharing a ride with coworkers or friends). I'm surprised really that you feel the cut to your CL income will be so great, esp because the main disincentive people have re returning to work is childcare expenses which you won't have.

    I have found the online CL calculator to be difficult to navigate, I think you're better off actually ringing CL and getting them to give you some *real* figures based on your likely fortnighty income. You might be surprised when you do the maths. Even a couple of hundred in the hand every week or fortnight does make a difference. Also when you work, your income does not remain the same, it goes up each year or so, and by being at work you gain experience etc that may result in promotions or other bonuses, etc. Whereas on CL you're pretty always going to be living on the same amount.

    Also, you need to know that when you return to work after caring for a child, the new income estimate you give only applies to those weeks in that fin year when you're actually working. So, say you were earning $0 until you started work in Oct (earning $10K per year). CL would calculate your benefit for July, Aug, Sept at your income of $0, and then the rest of the year at your income of $7.5K, so that you're not penalised for the increase in your income. (does that make sense?) At the end of the fin year, your reconciliation would be based on 6 fortnights earning $0 plus 18 fortnights earning $7.5K (instead of 26 fortnights at $7.5K)...which can make quite a difference depending on when in the year you go back to work.

    BUT having said all of that, what do you really want to do? If you really, in your heart, want to stay at home with DS, then make your decision based on that, no matter what the figures on the paper say. They are little for such a short time, and you may feel different and more ready to make that return to work in 6 months or a year or two. TAke your time and make the right decision.

  13. #13

    Join Date
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    I was never on CL payments as my DH earnt too much - it was worth it financially - but not worth the s*** I had to put up with from my bosses at work. Just because I came back to work, they thought it was ok to be rather monotone with me (if that's the right word for it)

  14. #14

    Default

    That's a good point DarkDreamer.

    When I went back to work 3 days a week after DD#1 I got given every small, annoying, boring projects that had been sitting around on the backburner for ages because noone else wanted to do it. And never more than one project at a time because I was 'only 3 days', despite people at 5 days having 3 or 4 concurrent projects.

    I had been there 18 months when I took mat leave. The boss of our division wouldn't promote me (this was the public service so promotion was a formality) even after I was there for 5 years because I was 'only there for 18 months'. So all these youngsters who started way after me got promoted instead. And of course I wouldn't go up to 4 days a week or more (I did, briefly) as the loss in CL/tax/hecs/childcare/travel was so high I was getting $200 a week less on 4 days, so I never really stood a chance.

    I ended up quitting and moving to the bush, where we do our own thing for less money and more happiness.

    /rant

  15. #15

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    Default Returning to work - was it worth it

    It worked out I'd only be $50 a week better off (if that) for working full time. So I'm studying instead and am consequently getting almost free daycare thru the JET program for single mums. So then when I do go back to work I can make a decent wage and see it as worth it.

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