Christmas work spurs on Michael's job quest
AFTER two months paid work in a department store Get Hired hopeful Michael Connors has found himself looking for a job once again – and caught in a benefits trap.
The 24-year-old father of two, from Keyham, was employed full-time at a busy Plymouth city centre department stores during the Christmas rush.
But when January came the temporary job ended.
Michael said he was offered the opportunity to stay on at the store, but bosses were only able to offer him five and a half hours work a week, albeit with the possibility of overtime.
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Although Michael had enjoyed his stint at the store, and was pleased with the offer, he said he was unable to accept it. With a wife and two children aged two and five he needs cash coming in to the household.
He said a calculation carried out by Jobcentre Plus staff revealed he would lose more in benefits than he would earn from working such hours.
Michael said the calculations revealed he needs to work at least 24 hours a week for his earnings to surpass the consequent loss in benefit payments.
He wants to work and provide for his family and is now looking for another job, hoping an employer can offer him something.
"I've been to a job fair for care work but I'm looking for anything," he said.
"I'd enjoyed my time in the department store and they offered me a contract but only for five and a half hours work a week, although they can call you in for overtime.
"But I just couldn't take it, because I've got kids, a wife and a place to think of.
"I've got to work for at least 24 hours a week for Working tax Credits and then would be better off by about £30 to £40 a week.
"I had the in-work calculation done and would be worse off each week if I worked five and a half hours.
"I wouldn't be entitled to Working Tax Credit, I would get part of my Jobseeker's Allowance, and I think I would get Income Support."
But Michael has improved his job skills from his work stint and said: "I've done till training and a customer service course. I've learned stock filling, how to order stock, quite a few things.
"I'm still looking for retail work, trying to get my foot in somewhere.
"I want to be supportive towards my family. The kids loved it when I was working.I just hope I can get something."
If you are an employer who can help Michael or if you are jobless and want to be featured in The Herald, please ring business editor William Telford on 01752 765529 or email email@example.com