Thinking Your Way Through a Labyrinth of Contemporary Issues
Part -time work in the UK.
The 2008 economic crash is supposedly over, yet what has that meant for the transformation of business’s approaches to employment. Well we already know that there are more part- time jobs than ever before in the UK.
The obvious idea behind this is that businesses have learnt to keep costs down since the 2008 credit crunch and as a result, they are offering people part-time work which also means that over-time can be offered out and taken away just the same.
Therefore there is a flexible opportunity for businesses to keep costs down and help improve sales and targets when over-time work is conveniently dished out.
So the idea that work pays literally is in fact a metaphorical statement that precludes absence of responsibility in the society that we live in. Essentially the very person who is struggling to make ‘end’s meet’, may be that very person we view in society as a ‘waste of space’. So in addition to the lackluster effort made by many businesses to help people get back in to work it is also necessary to look at those who’s very job it is to help.
How Job seekers allowance is failing us.
Firstly an incentive to get back to work is decreased if the offer of work is part -time, for those on job seekers earning £72 pound a week, being offered a part time position on the basis of earning around £50 more is hardly an incentive to get back in to work. When you take into consideration that you can earn £10 a day for a one appointment a week trip to the job center. The cost of transportation to work may eat into the extra money you earn from part-time work anyway. I recently saw a part-time job advertised in retail for 16 hours, sounds good? It was over 4 days a week….
Secondly if you are to take up extra work whilst you are on job seekers allowance you must declare it, so if you were to help in your friend’s shop for just a day and you were paid, you would have to declare this money and would subsequently lose it as the money you receive from your job seekers allowance would be decreased to ensure you will only receive £10 per day. Therefore opportunities to gain experience or to begin developing a commitment to some extra work a week is hugely decreased, as this extra work becomes unpaid.
Thirdly if you are ever unlucky enough to have to take part in an work academy via the Job centre, be prepared for disappointment. While the idea of the work academy in theory sounds good i.e getting people to work shadow in other jobs, there is no promise of actually getting a job, and you do not earn anymore money for this venture. You will essentially still be paid £10 per day even if you worked full time for 1 – 5 weeks – the length of time that a work academy can stretch for.
Fourthly, while any appointment at the job seekers center should be taken seriously, the idea that you attend and demonstrate what you have applied for i.e jobs is marred by the discontent of many of the staff that work for the DWP. While it may not be the view of everyone working at the job seekers center that ‘you are another lout who can’t keep a job’. It is certainly the case that many share this view and thus all who sign on for job seekers are tarred with the same brush. Thus your appointment becomes somewhat of an unforgiving experience by people who have clearly forgotten the damage that is done to your pride whilst out of work.
So work should pay both in the material aspect and mental aspect. Work should be worthwhile enough to go to, and all those on job-seekers allowance and the rest of the unemployed people, should be made to feel that there really is no better option than to work. Unfortunately with the part – time work on offer from businesses as well as the poor attitude of the employers at the job center, work is not necessarily the most favored option.
Oliver Wilson, (2015)