Unemployed told to do unpaid work or lose their benefits

Unemployed people on jobseekers allowance (JSA) will be told to do four weeks of unpaid work or face losing their benefits.

The plan, based on US welfare systems, is designed to slash the nations’ £190bn a year welfare bill and break what the Coalition now calls the “habit of worklessness.”

Work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, will announce the plans to Parliament as part of a new “contract” with the 1.4 million people on JSA, which also includes a new “universal credit” to replace existing benefits.

The new system, ministers claim, will ensure it always pays to work rather than stay on benefits.

Where advisers think a jobseeker could benefit from experiencing the “habits and routines of working life”, the jobseeker may be told to take up “mandatory work activities” for at least 30 hours per week, lasting four weeks, with placements including charities, voluntary organisations and private companies.

An insider from the Department for Work and pensions, said: “We know there are still some jobseekers who need an extra push to get them into the mindset of being in the working environment and an opportunity to experience that environment.

“This is all about getting them back into a working routine which, in turn, makes them a much more appealing prospect for an employer looking to fill a vacancy, and more confident when they enter the workplace. The goal is to break into the habit of worklessness.”
Commercial recycler and social welfare charity, Recycling Lives, understands the value and importance of work experience and builds this belief into its system of helping people facing an uncertain future turn their lives around, including the workless and welfare dependent.

Recycling Lives Residents undertake work related training leading to work experience placements with the company or with a Corporate Partner.

In addition to sustaining the charity through donations made in return for the Residents’ work, the work experience placements help to develop skills, motivation and a strong work ethic, leaving the Resident more confident and employable.