Jobseekers face losing benefits if they refuse zero-hours contracts

Jobseekers face losing benefits if they refuse zero-hours contracts
6th May 2014

 Jobseekers risk losing their benefits for three months or more if they turn down certain zero-hours contracts without good reason, a letter from a Conservative minister has revealed. Until now, people on Jobseeker's Allowance could refuse to accept such jobs without facing penalties.

 

But the new Universal Credit system demands that people take up the casual contracts – even though they do not always guarantee work. According to The Guardian, the change in policy under Universal Credit was revealed in a letter from Esther McVey, minister of state for employment, to Labour MP Sheila Gilmore, who had raised the issue of sanctions with her. The senior Tory confirmed that under the new system, Jobcentre "coaches" would be able to "mandate to zero-hours contracts", although they would have discretion about considering whether a role was suitable. A spokesman from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said claimants needed to do everything they could to get work.

He said jobseekers would be expected to take "reasonable" zero-hours contracts and carry on looking for permanent full-time work in the meantime. 

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