Working hours: benefits rules - Calculating work hours: Fluctuating hours of work
Benefit entitlement can depend on how many hours of paid work you do per week.
- Last reviewed 01 November 2023
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.
Universal Credit is affected by the amount you earn, but not by the number of hours you (or your partner) work. Your payments will adjust to your earnings. Make sure you report your earnings regularly. You can use our Benefits Calculator to check how your Universal Credit is affected by your planned hours and earnings.
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