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Jobseeker's Allowance

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the entitlement to employment rights will be of jobseeker’s allowance claimants participating in the work for your benefit pilots; and if she will make a statement. (313061)

[holding answer 25 January 2010]: Work for Your Benefit is a pilot programme primarily for customers who have been unemployed for more than two years. The programme consists of a work experience placement and other training and support which will be tailored to the individual. The programme is designed to help participants gain skills and experience which will be of value to them as they move towards work.

The programme does not provide jobs. It provides unpaid work experience placements and participants will continue to receive jobseeker’s allowance. Participants are not employed, and there will be no contract of employment between host organisations and participants.

Safeguards will however, be in place to ensure that Work for Your Benefit participants are properly treated. Participants will have the right to work in a healthy and safe working environment, and of course host organisations and providers will have to comply with all relevant legislation under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Work for Your Benefit participants will not be required to participate for more than 40 hours per week, and some for less than this, if for example they have caring responsibilities or have a health condition. Participants will be able to take time off during the placement, and will be given all appropriate training to allow them to make the most of their placement.

In addition, all suppliers will have in place a complaints mechanism through which customers will be able to raise concerns about their work experience placement, and ultimately can contact Jobcentre Plus if they have concerns over the support they are receiving.