Calculating Hours of Work

Calculating Work Hours: Employees

Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance

If you are employed, the number of hours you actually work are taken into account, this can include overtime if this is done routinely. If you do more than one job you should add your total hours together.

Working Tax Credit

You count the number of hours you would normally work ie what you regularly, usually or typically do. The number of hours you normally work may not be specified in your contract of employment or may vary from what is specified. It is the hours you actually work that matter. If you routinely do paid overtime you can argue that these are hours you normally work and they should be included.

Calculating Work Hours:Self-employed people

Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance

If you are self-employed, it is the number of hours normally performed for payment or expectation of payment that count.

You should include all the hours needed to run your business ie visiting potential clients; typing up estimates; buying stock; bookkeeping etc.

Tip: keep a diary note of all hours you do for your business in case you need to show proof.

Working Tax Credit

If you are self-employed, it is the number of hours normally performed for payment or expectation of payment.

You should count all the necessary hours needed to run your business, including visiting potential clients, typing up estimates, buying stock, bookkeeping etc.

Tip: Keep a diary to record all the hours you do for your business in case you need to show proof.

Calculating Work Hours: Maternity Leave

Income Support

You are not treated as being in full time paid work if you are on maternity, adoption or paternity leave even if you are a full time worker when you are not on leave.

For Working Tax Credit you could count as being in paid work so you should get advice on which benefit you would be better off claiming.

Working Tax Credit

If you are on maternity, paternity or adoption leave or within the first 28 weeks of a period of sickness, you continue to be classed as working the same number of hours you were working immediately before the period of leave. If you don't return to work at the end of your leave you will no longer count as being in paid work.

If you are self-employed and off work for reasons of maternity, paternity or adoption, like an employee you can continue to be classed as working the same number of hours you were working immediately before the leave began. If you don't return to your business at the end of your maternity period you will no longer count as being in paid work.

If you are on maternity leave, all Maternity Allowance and the first £100 of Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay or Statutory Adoption Pay is ignored as income.

Calculating Work Hours: Sick Leave

Income Support or Employment Support Allowance

You are not treated as being in full time paid work, even if you are a full time worker under your employment contract, if you are absent from work because you are sick.

For Working Tax Credit you could count as being in paid work so you should get advice on which benefit you would be better off claiming.

Working Tax Credit

f you are within the first 28 weeks of a period of sick leave from work, and are receiving a sickness benefit such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) , you continue to be classed as working the same number of hours you were working immediately before the period of sick leave began.

If you are self-employed and off work due to sickness, like an employee you can continue to be classed as working the same number of hours you were working immediately before the leave began.

If you do not return to work at the end of your sick leave, you will no longer count as being in paid work.

Calculating Work Hours: Fluctuating Hours of Work

Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance

If your hours of work fluctuate, then your hours are averaged over the ‘cycle of work’. For example, if you always work three weeks on and one week off, then an average of hours over a four week period would be used.

If there is no pattern to your work then your average working hours over the five weeks immediately before you make the benefit claim will be used (or a period that would give a fair average if the previous five weeks were out of the norm).

If there is no pattern of work established yet, for example if you have only just started a new job, then the average number of hours you are expected to work each week is used.

Working Tax Credit

If your hours of work fluctuate, then the hours you 'normally' or 'typically' work in a week, will be used to calculate your Working Tax Credit. HMRC do not ‘average’ the hours you work in order to work out your 'normal' hours.

If there is no pattern of work established yet, for example if you have only just started a new business, then the average number of hours you are expecting to work is used.

Calculating Work Hours: Seasonal Workers

Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance

If you are a seasonal worker, you are usually regarded as having a ‘cycle of work’ for that part of the year when you are working and you should not be treated as being in full-time work for the other part of the year.

If you have no recognisable ‘cycle of work’, then the average of hours over the five weeks prior to your claim for benefit is used.

Working Tax Credit

If you are a seasonal worker, your 'cycle of work' might be considered to only cover the period during which you are working, be that Summer or Winter for example.

You may count as unemployed for the periods in the year when you are not working, unlike term time workers.

Calulationg Work Hours: Term Time Workers

If you have a recognisable cycle of work of one year, which includes periods when you do not work, whether they be school holidays or something similar, then you could count as a ‘term-time worker’.

Income Support or Working Tax Credit

The periods of school holidays (or periods when no work is done) are ignored when assessing hours of work so the number of hours you work during term time applies to you throughout the whole year.

Jobseeker's Allowance

For Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), the periods of school holidays (or periods when no work is done) are included when assessing your hours of work.