To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her Department’s policy is on the sanctioning of claimants of universal credit that receive the limited capability for work element in the event of a (a) refusal of an offer of a zero-hours contract and (b) voluntary termination of a zero-hours contract.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
5 December 2018
Claimants on Universal Credit who are found to have Limited Capability for Work are set work preparation activity: they are not required to carry out work search or undertake work. Should a claimant with LCW take up, and then leave a zero hour contract they would not be subject to sanctions.
Zero-hours contracts offer flexibility which can be valuable for some individuals. Universal Credit payments adjust automatically depending on the amount a claimant earns, so that a claimant whose hours may change are financially supported and do not need to switch their benefit claim. Therefore, a Universal Credit claimant who is subject to all work related requirements can be expected to apply for a zero-hours contract job if it is considered suitable for their individual circumstances.
Where there is good reason why a Universal Credit claimant is unable to take a zero-hours contract job this is taken into account. Sanctions are only applied if no good reason is established. Additionally, sanctions are only applied for leaving a zero-hours contract job voluntarily if no good reason is found.
Sanctions are only used in a small percentage of cases, and that is when people fail to meet their agreed commitments without good reason. When considering whether a sanction is appropriate, a Decision Maker will take all the claimant’s individual circumstances, including any health conditions or disabilities and any evidence of good reason, into account before deciding whether a sanction is warranted.