Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Mandatory placements for jobseekers

Jobseekers will have to do compulsory work activity, employment minister Chris Grayling has said

Jobseekers will have to do compulsory work activity placements or face financial sanctions under "radical" new welfare rules.

As part of the Government's shake-up of the welfare system, Jobcentre Plus advisers will soon be able to refer jobseekers to do so-called mandatory work activity, lasting four weeks.

The move will cover jobseekers who advisers believe will benefit from experiencing the "habits and routines" of working life.

Participants will be expected to spend up to 30 hours a week on their placement and will be required to continue to look for work.

Employment minister Chris Grayling said: "I've been really worried by some of the job search interviews I've sat through where people are clearly losing their focus and just aren't getting any closer to a job.

"This new approach is designed to give people that extra push to make sure they are really keeping active and focused on what it takes to get into work."

If a claimant does not attend or complete the placement then a "significant" financial sanction will be imposed, such as withholding Jobseeker's Allowance for at least three months.

Almost five million people are on out-of-work benefits in the UK, including 1.4 million who have been receiving them for nine out of the past 10 years.

The UK now has one of the highest rates of workless households in Europe, with 1.9 million children living in homes where no-one has a job.