Jobcentre Plus sign.

Part-time workers claiming Universal Credit face punitive in-work benefit sanctions, it has been reported today.

Universal Credit claimants in part-time employment could see their Housing Benefit slashed, if they fail to increase their working hours to 35 hours per week on the minimum wage, reports Inside Housing.

The trial, quietly introduced through secondary legislation, will affect around 15,000 new Universal credit claimants earning less than £12,000 a year.

Sanctions currently only affect unemployed people in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If the trial is rolled out across the country, thousands of hard-working people could see their in-work benefits docked for the very first time.

Universal Credit merges a number of existing benefits into one single monthly payment. This includes Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, JSA and ESA.

However, the Government’s flagship project has been beset by delays and problems with its IT systems. Official figures show 26,940 people were claiming Universal Credit by 11 December 2014.

The DWP is speeding up the roll-out of Universal Credit across Britain, in an apparent bid to prevent Labour from calling a halt to its introduction if they win the next general election.

Under the new mandatory pilot, which launches in April 2015, in-work Universal Credit claimants face the prospect of weekly sanctions – starting at around £29 per person.

Those affected by the trial will be offered ‘support’ from Jobcentre Plus to increase their pay and working hours. Failure to comply could result in sanctions.


  1. When you consider most super markets are open nearly fifteen hours a day and the majority of work force is part time and zero hour contract you then have to ask the question why are they not employing people full time.
    The Answer is really simple. If you employ on a part time basis or a zero hour basis and the wage paid to the worker is less then £150.00 a week the employer doesn’t have to pay his side of the employees National insurance contribution. Tesco alone have save Billions up on billions. in this scam.and the Tories champion the scam as it boost profits of their corporate buddies. IDS knows this but thinks Tax credits are free money and low paid workers are little more then benefit cheats by raking in this free money.

  2. Sadly the Conservative Party is a party for the rich. George Osbourne keeps talking about the hard working people of Britain, but it’s all spin. The rich are raking in more and more money under the Tories, while the inequality gap grows ever wider. Some people are working slavishly and can barely make enough to live, while taxes have been cut for the rich. Only the policies of the Green Party can change this, they want to make Britain a fairer place, acting for the common good. Urge your friends and young people to vote, they can make a change. The only ones who want 5 more years of David Cameron are those raking in the money from his policies. i.e. the rich. They have the power. Vote Green. I add I am not affiliated with the Greens in any way and I’m not a member of the party as yet, but I see their policies as the only way to make a change for good.

    • I totally agree, the greens are the only party that can help the people of the uk get out from under the murderous policies they are being forced to live with. Both the Tories and labour have driven us back to the Victorian era. It is now a crime in Britain, to be sick, poor, old, young, unemployed, part time worker, zero hours worker or obese. They demand austerity from everyone but themselves. By the way I am not a member or affiliated with the greens, yet. It’s time we voted for total change, both labour and the Tories must go.

  3. vote for the Greens if you want a change. They will scrap the benefit system and pay a citizen’s income to everyone. No more sanctions, no appeals, no administrative waste. They will also up the minimum wage to £10 an hour, so people who can only work part time will not be in poverty.

  4. the country has run out of money ,and if there is no money !!!!!!! so you will not be getting a top up , whats your plan ?

  5. Has Universal Credit actually replaced Tax Credits in the pilot areas? I thought that Universal Credit has only involved single JSA claimants.

      • Yes, I’ve understood that UB is intended to include tax credits. But UB in the ‘pathfinder’ areas has been limited (initially) to a specific l section of JSA claimants. Perhaps they’ve been widening the pool of JSA claimants to those with more complex circumstances, but have they gone beyond that? I’m finding the reports published so far rather confusing.
        When I was on JSA and doing part-time work, I was subject to the same rigamarole as a non-working claimant (before JSA in 1996 they did have a special category for working claimants, and left them alone). So I’m still not clear on whether these vile ‘pilots’ (get ’em grounded!) will be targeting people on other benefits.
        I guess there’s one way to find out – get those FOIs out!

  6. I am incensed by this A friend has just been made to claim UC and has been informed she will get no money for 4 to 5 weeks Her rent is not paid she can’t put the heating on she has 3 kids to feed and is looking for work day in day out . she didn’t choose to become a single parent. Anyway this idea is ridiculous I have been helping her to sort this out and she is distressed. A for increasing her work hours – when she gets a job – the cost of childcare will far out weigh any government savings. We calculated that it would cost government 245 pounds a week What the hell is that about

  7. On breakfast television the presenters smile as they say how unemployment is at its lowest since the 1970s. its all a bit surreal, now all those working people who are deemed to not be working enough hours are going to be screwed. will unemployment still be at its lowest since the 1970s ? Who really wants zero hours contracts, when the employee is not guaranteed any hours,but have to be available all the working week.

    • And be available for any voluntary work, and any random appointment they decide to send you on, usually with a provider totally inappropriate for your circumstances, and be available for your signing appointment.

      Anyone know how to acquire a Starfleet Transporter?

  8. I just cannot describe how I am feeling at the moment. Just when you think this country and its government cannot sink any lower and punish already struggling people and families any more, then this is announced. This government of multi-millionaires is utterly despicable.

  9. So you’re forced to take a zero hours contract or part-time job and then get sanctioned for it? You know I can see why some people become mentally ill with depression and decide to kill their kids and commit suicide…

  10. “Those affected by the trial will be offered ‘support’ from Jobcentre Plus”

    I bet the ‘support’ will be superb as usual. This government is disgusting.

    • Yes, basic literacy courses for graduates with decades of experience speaking and writing in better English than the advisors mandating them.

      Basic IT courses teaching you how to turn on a computer and what a mouse is, when you’ve been using computers since the Atari ST/Commodore 64.

      And they will set the appointment for the course GUARANTEED on the same day as your signing appointment, and since you can’t access your advisor except by appointment, and you cannot phone your individual JCP anymore, so you’d better learn how to be in 2 places at once, otherwise you won’t be “engaging with the system” and so will be sanctioned.

      Got plenty more experiences I could share.

  11. IDS calls Part time work and Zero Hour contract work being Underemployed. Even though his Government has championed Under employment through both Part time work and zero hour contract work they now seek to remove the benefit paid to keep people in work. For those who have regular hours and claim Tax credits think before claiming the tax credits and look at Housing benefit and Council tax relief instead. as this is un-effected by the under employment rules IDS has dreamed up. It may be better to leave Tax credits alone if you can get just as much the other way.
    IDS plans for the DWP to sanction 3 in 5 claimants pulled in each week. As he believes more people should be using food banks and less using the tax credit system to prop up the low pay he champions.

  12. How are you meant to incease your hours when there isnt the hours there to start with hence why its only a part time job. Seriously these ppl in goverment need to live a few weeks in other ppls shoes to actually realise what they are doing….

    • Exactly, people do not choose Zero Hour contracts by choice! Or most,,,, most look it as any work is better than none.

      But more to the point; its easy to pray on them than the millions if not billions lost to tax fraud,, sorry evasion,,, because they have been adding even more loopholes to the system for them.

      HSBC Anyone?

  13. What an appalling mess the incoming government is going to inherit. The current system is not working, there are delays lasting weeks when claimants are transferred from DLA to PIP, during which disabled people are simply not being paid.
    All the indications are that Universal Credit is not fit for purpose. New and more stringent benefit caps suggest that large families will be left without enough money to pay their rent, and there may also be technical glitches and bugs in the system which is being rolled out, as well as failures to deal adequately with a variety of situations, such as childcare costs which mean that far from making work pay, Universal Credit may thrust some claimants into penury.
    This will also impact on home social care. The pay structures, in which both travelling and waiting time are unpaid, make it impossible to achieve 35 hours of “work” in a normal working week. Either home carers will have to be paid more or they will be forced to seek alternative employment.

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