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Boycott Workfare is a UK-wide campaign to end forced unpaid work for people who receive welfare. Workfare profits the rich by providing free labour, whilst threatening the poor by taking away welfare rights if people refuse to work without a living wage. We are a grassroots campaign, formed in 2010 by people with experience of workfare and those concerned about its impact. We expose and take action against companies and organisations profiting from workfare; encourage organisations to pledge to boycott it; and actively inform people of their rights.

Crucial advice for working claimants: claiming compensation

Posted: July 1st, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: In-work conditionality, Info on schemes, Law | No Comments »
Crucial advice for working claimants: claiming compensation

In-Work Conditionality trial notification letter

Are you a claimant who has been harassed under ‘in-work conditionality’? If you have been earning equal to or above the ‘administrative threshold’ of £338.43 a month for a single claimant and £541.02 a month for a couple, then you should NOT have been subjected to work-related requirements from February 2015. And you are entitled to claim compensation. This briefing from Housing Systems contains information on how to do this, including template letters.

So you should claim compensation if you:

  • Are earning equal or above the administrative threshold
  • Have been sanctioned
  • Ended a Universal Credit claim while still entitled
  • Suffered costs and stress as a result of mistaken work-related requirements
  • Are not on the in-work conditionality ‘randomised control trial’ pilot scheme (see below).

While the government’s expanded conditionality aims eventually to punish those earning less than 35x the national minimum wage per week, this has not been fully implemented. Many DWP staff have jumped the gun in their zeal to get more sanctioning in. These amendments to the Universal Credit regulations state that sanctions for those earning over the administrative threshold should not be applied from February 2015 onwards, as outlined in point 3 of these DWP  regulations. Read the rest of this entry »


Sanctions centre plus: open all hours?

Posted: February 3rd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: In-work conditionality, Sanctions, Welfare to work industry | 4 Comments »

Roll up! Roll up! The first oral evidence session for the Works and Pensions Committee inquiry on ‘in-work progression in Universal Credit’ began on 3 February. This is all about ‘in-work conditionality’, where low-earning workers receiving top-up benefits such as Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit will be subject to the tender attentions currently enjoyed by unemployed claimants. We previously covered this in Workfare: Don’t Think a Job Means You’re Safe and Suggestions, They Want? Now, with Universal Credit due to be ‘rolled out’ in more areas, we can enjoy another round of parliamentary mumbling.

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Ready to welcome workers into the fold?

Despite the limited terms of reference, Boycott Workfare made a written submission to this inquiry. Given that we campaign against sanctions imposed on unemployed people, we naturally oppose sanctions against working claimants. Extending conditionality – which will include sanctions – to working claimants extends these harms to a wider population and will only punish people on the receiving end of the UK’s low-pay no-pay precarious labour market. Small rises in the national minimum wage will not make these concerns go away: with the imposition of conditionality for workers, a higher minimum wage will simply mean a higher conditionality threshold and the use of the minimum wage as a stick to hit workers who are not earning ‘enough’.

We have already stated our opposition to all sanctions in our previous submission to the same committee, and oppose any attempt to extend the regime that has been described as Britain’s ‘secret penal system’.

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Suggestions, they want?

Posted: March 11th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Call to action, In-work conditionality, Info on schemes | 8 Comments »

The DWP and workfare thinktank Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people who are in work...

The DWP and workfare thinktank Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people who are in work…

Not content with workfare for unemployed and disabled people, the DWP and their thinktank friends Policy Exchange are seeking ideas on how to extend workfare and conditionality to people in low-paid and part-time work as well.

According to Lord Freud, the banker-turned-welfare-minister: “The fact that those in work will come under the ambit of the JobCentre Plus for the first time as a result of universal credit gives the government radical new opportunities.”

Having learned their lessons from New Labour in the spin of framing retrogressive steps as ‘radical’, the ConDems aren’t content with their efforts to grind down unemployed and disabled people. They now want to extend workfare and ‘conditionality’ – let’s call it profiteering, time-wasting, potentially life-sapping harassment – to working claimants when Universal Credit kicks in. However, the government is well aware that the usual divisive rhetoric about benefits robbing ‘the taxpayer’ will be more difficult to direct against people who are already working and paying taxes.

Therefore, the DWP and Policy Exchange are both asking for suggestions on how to widen the range of their nets to self-employed, part-time and low-paid workers. In a document with the catchy title of “Extending labour market interventions to in-work claimants – call for ideas”, the DWP requests feedback from “employers, behavioural economists, social psychologists, think tanks, welfare to work providers, academics, charities, application designers and those at the sharp end of delivering existing services”. Of course, this call-out doesn’t include those at ‘the sharp end’ of DWP schemes.
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Workfare: Don’t think a job will mean you’re safe

Posted: March 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: In-work conditionality, Info on schemes | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

With workfare likely to crumble, it’s time to get our cudgels out for another nasty piece of work compulsion looming on the horizon – the expansion of ‘conditionality’ to those receiving in-work benefits.

Universal Credit (UC) will replace benefits such as working tax credit and housing benefit. Part-time workers, low-waged workers and self-employed people whose profits are deemed too low will now face sanctions and harassment.

But there’s not been much publicity about this outside of a Guardian article published last November and several blog postings, including this recent one from the North East Child Poverty Commission.

Says Lord Freud: “We are currently able to impose requirements on existing JSA claimants who are in some work and we need to retain this capability. Obviously, we are interested in doing more and extending conditionality to claimants who are in relatively substantive levels of work but who are nevertheless capable of working more.”

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