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Under UC, You Can Be Sanctioned For Refusing A Zero-Hours Contract

May 6, 2014

Benefits can now be removed for at least three months from those who don’t apply to zero-hours jobs.

Zero hours contracts are a con from a jobseeker’s perspective.

If you don’t get any work for weeks (perfectly possible under this arrangement) are you actually employed or unemployed?

The government has made its decision; on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) website a response to a Freedom of Information request states:

“We expect claimants to do all they reasonably can to look for and move into paid work. If a claimant turns down a particular vacancy (including zero-hours contract jobs) a sanction may be applied, but we will look into the circumstances of the case and consider whether they had a good reason.”

Those on the frontline of the war between claimants and the state – jobseekers themselves – know that whenever the DWP talks of discretion like this it means sanctions for all.

UnemployedNet has written before about the problems caused by zero hours for those who work under these conditions.

More than a third of them want more work, and a CIPD report found that 40% of workers had shifts cancelled without notice, making it hard for them to budget their spending.

The arrangement suits employers but not workers; one-in-five has been penalised if they were unavailable for work, suggesting that the arrangement does not always offer the flexibility and fairness some believe.

Applying sanctions of an immediate loss of benefits for three months to those who don’t apply for pretend jobs – as some of this work clearly is – shows the government is focused on selling its high employment story at the expense of jobseekers.

These non-jobs shouldn’t count as employment given that they don’t guarantee hours, but they do count towards national statistics, and this must be why the coalition is so keen to push people into them.

They rarely benefit those who need most help – jobseekers – but the support of government and business means they are likely to be forced on the workless for a while yet.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2014 3:41 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  2. June 27, 2014 12:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating.

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