It’s been just over a year since my husband returned to work after 13 months of unemployment. His getting back to work is a huge blessing for our family, but we are still dealing with the fallout.
Hubs is working on contract for a large Vancouver company. His first contract was for 3 months, with short term extensions for the first year until he received a one-year contract in February which takes us into next year. This kind of uncertainty is pretty tough when you have to deal with paying a mortgage and the bills.
What does that mean for us?
- My husband is employed until February but after that we don’t know;
- With no benefits plan, we now spend hundreds of dollars each month paying for MSP and a pretty limited extended benefits plan that doesn’t include any dental coverage. Our kid needed orthodontic treatment right when we lost the benefits plan from his former job and yikes, that was pricey as are other medical and dental services that we need. Don’t take your benefits for granted is what I’m saying.
- There’s no vacation pay and no stat holiday pay with a contract so holiday time is limited as a family;
- We are working on paying off some debt we incurred during unemployment.
- OMG you should have seen me figuring out how to do the taxes for two self-employed people instead of one! We thought about hiring an accountant but ultimately we just couldn’t afford it.
We are very fortunate that my husband found this job despite the downsides of a contract situation. But my concern going forward is that governments will increase our taxes/reduce benefits thinking we are “the rich” based on our family income, not realizing that our supersized Vancouver mortgage means we are always on a budget and even more so now with the financial pressures of this contract situation.
My husband, who has paid into the unemployment system in Canada for his whole working career of almost 25 years, did not receive benefits when he was out of work because of the severance package he received. If he was really not entitled to financial benefits, I believe he should have received funding for retraining as he spend several thousands of dollars to bring his skills up to date so he would be qualified for a new job. When we pay into a system, we do need to receive some benefits from it when we need it.
I think it’s important to share our experience, not to complain, but to show what real families living in Metro Vancouver – one of the most expensive cities in the world – are going through.
What we learned
Long term job loss is unbelievably hard. It was the worst thing to happen to my family since my pregnancy crisis nine years ago which caused the premature birth of my son and that’s saying a lot.
If you know someone whose family is going through unemployment, please give them a hug and lots of encouragement that it can and will work out. Tell them that over and over again. They will need to hear it.
We’re still working through the aftermath of unemployment, but there is lots of light, and hope, at the end of the tunnel.
Part 1 – Job Loss
Part 2 – Sharing the News
Part 3 – Sweating the Small Stuff in Job Loss
Part 4 – Should we Stay in Metro Vancouver or Should we Go?
Part 5 – Our Canadian Family’s Journey Through Unemployment in 2015
Part 6 – 13 Months of Unemployment almost Broke Me; 10 Life Lessons to Share; We’re Not the Rich
Part 7 – Unemployment: The Aftermath; and the Light at the End of the Tunnel