Managing Time: The Integration of Caring and Paid Work by Low-Income Families and the Role of the UK's Tax Credit System

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Abstract

Under the New Labour governments in the UK, successive reforms of the tax and benefit system sought to improve the financial benefits of paid work. Drawing on two waves of qualitative interviews with low-income working families this article examines the role of the UK tax credit system in shaping decisions about employment and unpaid care work. The article suggests that the financial support provided for lone-parent participants by the tax credit system enhanced their temporal autonomy, permitting participation in paid work to align more closely with temporally situated notions of parental responsibility for caring. For couple families however, parental perceptions of responsibility for pre-school children, along with childcare constraints and the structure of the tax credit system served to constrain the autonomy of the main carer and implicitly encourage a gendered specialisation in caring or employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-645
JournalPolicy Studies
Volume31
Issue number6
Early online date19 Nov 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • work–life balance
  • time
  • tax credits
  • New Labour

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