IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: Couples balancing work, money and care: the shifting landscape under Universal Credit

02 March 2021, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Family walking down the street. Image: Emma Bauso via Pexels

This webinar will explore an ongoing project which examines the ways in which couples make decisions about work and care and manage their household finances in the context of this new policy landscape.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jenny Woodman

To register for this webinar, please contact Jenny Woodman at least two days before the event to receive detailed joining instructions.

In this webinar, Professor Jane Millar and Dr Rita Griffith will discuss research which focuses on couples claiming Universal Credit. 

The research mentioned will:

  • outline the policy context and briefly discuss existing research on work/care decisions and household financial management, with a focus on gender issues
  • describe the aims and methods of the research, and the characteristics of the sample
  • present some findings from the two rounds of interviews, focusing on work/care decisions in couples.

Universal Credit replaces six existing means-tested benefits and tax credits with a single monthly payment per individual claimant or couple. 

Under Universal Credit, the distinction between being in work and out of work has been removed and most claimants, including many partners in couples with dependent children, will have work conditionality requirements.

This is a major, and controversial, reform to the UK system of social security for people of working age. 

    The research focuses upon couples because:

    • Universal Credit provides a much changed policy landscape for work/family decisions
    • Couples cannot claim as individuals but must claim jointly
    • The couple is treated as a single assessment and payment unit
    • There is one monthly payment per couple; and both must fulfil individual and household-level work conditionality requirements. Thus the decisions, behaviours and earnings of one partner unavoidably affect the other.  


    • Professor Jane Millar, Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath 
    • Dr Rita Griffith, Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath 

    TCRU seminar series

    The Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU) hosts a weekly seminar series, where invited speakers present work of relevance to the research interests of the unit.


    Image: Emma Bauso via Pexels