Welfare Reform Bill (HC Bill 197)

Welfare Reform BillPage 30

(a) work of a particular nature,

(b) work with a particular level of remuneration,

(c) work in particular locations, or

(d) work available for a certain number of hours per week or at

5particular times,

and may be indefinite or for a particular period.

6E Work availability requirement

(1) In this Act a “work availability requirement” is a requirement that a

claimant be available for work.

(2) 10For the purposes of this section “available for work” means able and

willing immediately to take up paid work (or more paid work or better-

paid work).

(3) Regulations may impose limitations on a work availability requirement

by reference to the work to which it relates; and the Secretary of State

15may in any particular case specify further such limitations on such a

requirement.

(4) A limitation under subsection (3) may in particular be by reference to—

(a) work of a particular nature,

(b) work with a particular level of remuneration,

(c) 20work in particular locations, or

(d) work available for a certain number of hours per week or at

particular times,

and may be indefinite or for a particular period.

(5) Regulations may for the purposes of subsection (2) define what is

25meant by able and willing immediately to take up work.

6F Imposition of work-related requirements

(1) The Secretary of State must, except in prescribed circumstances, impose

on a claimant—

(a) a work search requirement, and

(b) 30a work availability requirement.

(2) The Secretary of State may, subject to this Act, impose either or both of

the following on a claimant—

(a) a work-focused interview requirement;

(b) a work preparation requirement.

6G 35Connected requirements

(1) The Secretary of State may require a claimant to participate in an

interview for any purpose relating to—

(a) the imposition of a work-related requirement on the claimant;

(b) verifying the claimant’s compliance with a work-related

40requirement;

(c) assisting the claimant to comply with a work-related

requirement.

(2) The Secretary of State may specify how, when and where such an

interview is to take place.

Welfare Reform BillPage 31

(3) The Secretary of State may, for the purpose of verifying the claimant’s

compliance with a work-related requirement, require a claimant to—

(a) provide to the Secretary of State information and evidence

specified by the Secretary of State in a manner so specified;

(b) 5confirm compliance in a manner so specified.

(4)

The Secretary of State may require a claimant to report to the Secretary

of State any specified changes in their circumstances which are relevant

to—

(a) the imposition of work-related requirements on the claimant;

(b) 10the claimant’s compliance with a work-related requirement.

6H Imposition of work-related and connected requirements:

supplementary

(1) Regulations may make provision—

(a) where the Secretary of State may impose a requirement under

15the preceding provisions of this Act, as to when the requirement

must or must not be imposed;

(b) where the Secretary of State may specify any action to be taken

in relation to a requirement under the preceding provisions of

this Act, as to what action must or must not be specified;

(c) 20where the Secretary of State may specify any other matter in

relation to a such requirement, as to what must or must not be

specified in respect of that matter.

(2) Where the Secretary of State may impose a work-focused interview

requirement, or specify a particular action under section 6C(1) or

256D(1)(b), the Secretary of State must have regard to such matters as may

be prescribed.

(3) Where the Secretary of State may impose a requirement under the

preceding provisions of this Act, or specify any action to be taken in

relation to such a requirement, the Secretary of State may revoke or

30change what has been imposed or specified.

(4) Notification of a requirement imposed under the preceding provisions

of this Act (or any change to or revocation of such a requirement) is, if

not included in the claimant commitment, to be in such manner as the

Secretary of State may determine.

(5) 35Regulations must make provision to secure that, in prescribed

circumstances, where a claimant has recently been a victim of domestic

violence—

(a) a requirement imposed on the claimant under the preceding

provisions of this Act ceases to have effect for a period of 13

40weeks, and

(b) the Secretary of State may not impose any other requirement on

the claimant during that period.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5)—

(a) “domestic violence” has such meaning as may be prescribed;

(b) 45“victim of domestic violence” means a person on or against

whom domestic violence is inflicted or threatened (and

regulations under subsection (5) may prescribe circumstances

Welfare Reform BillPage 32

in which a person is to be treated as being or not being a victim

of domestic violence);

(c) a person has recently been a victim of domestic violence if a

prescribed period has not expired since the violence was

5inflicted or threatened.

6I Compliance with work-related and connected requirements

Regulations may make provision as to circumstances in which a

claimant is to be treated as having—

(a) complied with or not complied with any requirement imposed

10under the preceding provisions of this Act or any aspect of such

a requirement, or

(b) taken or not taken any particular action specified by the

Secretary of State in relation to such a requirement.

6J Higher-level sanctions

(1) 15The amount of an award of jobseeker’s allowance is to be reduced in

accordance with this section in the event of a failure by a claimant

which is sanctionable under this section.

(2) It is a failure sanctionable under this section if a claimant—

(a) fails for no good reason to comply with a requirement imposed

20by the Secretary of State under a work preparation requirement

to undertake a work placement of a prescribed description;

(b) fails for no good reason to comply with a requirement imposed

by the Secretary of State under a work search requirement to

apply for a particular vacancy for paid work;

(c) 25fails for no good reason to comply with a work availability

requirement by not taking up an offer of paid work;

(d) by reason of misconduct, or voluntarily and for no good reason,

ceases paid work or loses pay.

(3) It is a failure sanctionable under this section if, at any time before

30making the claim by reference to which the award is made, the

claimant—

(a) for no good reason failed to take up an offer of paid work, or

(b) by reason of misconduct, or voluntarily and for no good reason,

ceased paid work or lost pay.

(4) 35For the purposes of subsections (2) and (3) regulations may provide—

(a) for circumstances in which ceasing to work or losing pay is to

be treated as occurring or not occurring by reason of

misconduct or voluntarily;

(b) for loss of pay below a prescribed level to be disregarded.

(5) 40Regulations are to specify—

(a) the amount of a reduction under this section;

(b) the period for which such a reduction has effect, not exceeding

three years in relation to any failure sanctionable under this

section.

(6) 45Regulations under subsection (5)(b) may in particular provide for the

period of a reduction to depend on either or both of the following—

Welfare Reform BillPage 33

(a) the number of failures by the claimant sanctionable under this

section;

(b) the period between such failures.

(7) Regulations may provide—

(a) 5for cases in which no reduction is to be made under this section;

(b) for a reduction under this section made in relation to an award

that is terminated to be applied to any new award made within

a prescribed period of the termination;

(c) for the termination or suspension of a reduction under this

10section.

6K Other sanctions

(1) The amount of an award of a jobseeker’s allowance is to be reduced in

accordance with this section in the event of a failure by a claimant

which is sanctionable under this section.

(2) 15It is a failure sanctionable under this section if a claimant—

(a) fails for no good reason to comply with a work-related

requirement;

(b) fails for no good reason to comply with a requirement under

section 6G.

(3) 20But a failure by a claimant is not sanctionable under this section if it is

also a failure sanctionable under section 6J.

(4) Regulations must specify—

(a) the amount of a reduction under this section;

(b) the period for which such a reduction has effect.

(5) 25Regulations under subsection (4)(b) may provide that a reduction

under this section in relation to any failure is to have effect for—

(a) a period continuing until the claimant meets a compliance

condition specified by the Secretary of State,

(b) a fixed period not exceeding 26 weeks which is—

(i) 30specified in the regulations, or

(ii) determined in any case by the Secretary of State, or

(c) a combination of both.

(6) In subsection (5)(a) “compliance condition” means—

(a) a condition that the failure ceases, or

(b) 35a condition relating to future compliance with a work-related

requirement or a requirement under section 6G.

(7) A compliance condition specified under subsection (5)(a) may be—

(a) revoked or varied by the Secretary of State;

(b) notified to the claimant in such manner as the Secretary of State

40may determine.

(8) A period fixed under subsection (5)(b) may in particular depend on

either or both the following—

(a) the number of failures by the claimant sanctionable under this

section;

(b) 45the period between such failures.

Welfare Reform BillPage 34

(9) Regulations may provide—

(a) for cases in which no reduction is to be made under this section;

(b) for a reduction under this section made in relation to an award

that is terminated to be applied to any new award made within

5a prescribed period of the termination;

(c) for the termination or suspension of a reduction under this

section.

6L Delegation and contracting out

(1) The functions of the Secretary of State under sections 6 to 6I may be

10exercised by, or by the employees of, such person as the Secretary of

State may authorise for the purpose (an “authorised person”).

(2) An authorisation given by virtue of this section may authorise the

exercise of a function—

(a) wholly or to a limited extent;

(b) 15generally or in particular cases or areas;

(c) unconditionally or subject to conditions.

(3)

An authorisation under this section—

(a) may specify its duration;

(b) may be varied or revoked at any time by the Secretary of State;

(c) 20does not prevent the Secretary of State or another person from

exercising the function to which the authorisation relates.

(4)

Anything done or omitted to be done by or in relation to an authorised

person (or an employee of that person) in, or in connection with, the

exercise or purported exercise of the function concerned is to be treated

25for all purposes as done or omitted to be done by or in relation to the

Secretary of State or (as the case may be) an officer of the Secretary of

State.

(5) Subsection (4) does not apply—

(a) for the purposes of so much of any contract made between the

30authorised person and the Secretary of State as relates to the

exercise of the function, or

(b) for the purposes of any criminal proceedings brought in respect

of anything done or omitted to be done by the authorised

person (or an employee of that person).

(6) 35Where—

(a) the authorisation of an authorised person is revoked, and

(b) at the time of the revocation so much of any contract made

between the authorised person and the Secretary of State as

relates to the exercise of the function is subsisting,

40the authorised person is entitled to treat the contract as repudiated by

the Secretary of State (and not as frustrated by reason of the

revocation).

(4) In section 29 (pilot schemes), in subsection (8), for the words from

“ascertaining” to the end there is substituted “testing the extent to which the

45provision made by the regulations is likely to promote—

(a) people remaining in work, or

Welfare Reform BillPage 35

(b) people obtaining or being able to obtain work (or more work or better-

paid work).”

(5) In section 35 (interpretation), in subsection (1), at the appropriate places there

is inserted—

  • 5“work availability requirement” has the meaning given by

    section 6E;”;

  • ““work preparation requirement” has the meaning given by

    section 6C;”;

  • ““work search requirement” has the meaning given by section

    106D;”;

  • ““work-focused interview requirement” has the meaning given by

    section 6B;”;

  • ““work-related requirement” has the meaning given by section 6;.

CHAPTER 2 Employment and support allowance

15Conditions of entitlement

50 Dual entitlement

(1) In section 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (employment and support

allowance), after subsection (6) there is inserted—

(6A) In subsection (3)(f), in relation to a contributory allowance, the

20reference to a couple entitled to a joint-claim jobseeker’s allowance

does not include a couple so entitled by virtue of regulations under

paragraph 8A of Schedule 1 to the Jobseekers Act 1995.

(6A) In a case where—

(a) an award of an employment and support allowance is made to a person

25in respect of any period of time before the coming into force of

subsection (1), and

(b) the person was not entitled to an employment and support allowance

in relation to that period but would have been had subsection (1) been

in force in relation to that period,

30subsection (1) shall be regarded as having been in force in relation to that

period.

51 Period of entitlement to contributory allowance

(1) After section 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 there is inserted—

1A Duration of contributory allowance

(1) 35The period for which a person is entitled to a contributory allowance

shall not exceed, in the aggregate, 365 days in any period for which his

entitlement is established by reference (under the second condition set

out in Part 1 of Schedule 1) to the same two tax years.

Welfare Reform BillPage 36

(2) The fact that a person’s entitlement to a contributory allowance has

ceased as a result of subsection (1) does not prevent his being entitled

to a further such allowance if—

(a) he satisfies the first and second conditions set out in Part 1 of

5Schedule 1, and

(b) the two tax years by reference to which he satisfies the second

condition include at least one year which is later than the

second of the two years by reference to which (under the second

condition) his previous entitlement was established.

(3) 10The reference to days in subsection (1)—

(a) includes days occurring before, as well as after, the coming into

force of this section;

(b) does not include days in a period in which a person is a member

of the support group.

(2) 15In Schedule 4 to that Act (transition relating to Part 1), in paragraph 7(2), at the

end there is inserted—

(f) make provision modifying the application of section 1A in

relation to awards of an employment and support allowance to

persons previously entitled to existing awards.

52 20Condition relating to youth

(1) In section 1 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (employment and support

allowance), in subsection (2)(a), the words “or the third condition set out in that

Part of that Schedule (condition relating to youth)” are repealed.

(2) In Schedule 1 to that Act (additional conditions), paragraph 4 and the

25preceding cross-heading are repealed.

(3) After the coming into force of this section no claim may be made for an

employment and support allowance by virtue of the third condition set out in

Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (youth).

(4) In the case of a person who at any time after the coming into force of this

30section is entitled to an employment and support allowance by virtue of that

condition, the period for which the person is entitled to that allowance shall not

exceed 365 days.

(5) The reference to days in subsection (4)—

(a) includes days occurring before, as well as after, the coming into force of

35that subsection;

(b) does not include days in a period in which a person is a member of the

support group (within the meaning of Part 1 of the Welfare Reform Act

2007).

Claimant responsibilities for interim period

53 40Claimant commitment for employment and support allowance

(1) The Welfare Reform Act 2007 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 1(3) (employment and support allowance: basic conditions) after

Welfare Reform BillPage 37

paragraph (a) there is inserted—

(aa) has accepted a claimant commitment,.

(3) After section 1A (as inserted by section 51 above) there is inserted—

1B Claimant commitment

(1) 5For the purposes of this Part a “claimant commitment” is a record of the

claimant’s responsibilities in relation to an award of an employment

and support allowance.

(2) A claimant commitment is to be prepared by the Secretary of State and

may be reviewed and updated as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

(3) 10A claimant commitment is to be in such form as the Secretary of State

thinks fit.

(4) A claimant commitment is to include—

(a) any prescribed information, and

(b) any other information the Secretary of State considers it

15appropriate to include.

(5) For the purposes of this Part a claimant accepts a claimant commitment

if, and only if, the claimant accepts the most up-to-date version of it in

such manner as may be prescribed.

(6) Regulations may provide that, in prescribed circumstances, a claimant

20is to be treated as having satisfied the condition mentioned in section

1(3)(aa).

(4) In section 15(2)(b) (directions about work-related activity) for the words from

“by” to “14” there is substituted “in such manner as the Secretary of State thinks

fit”.

(5) 25In section 16(1) (contracting out) before paragraph (a) there is inserted—

(za) any function under section 1B in relation to a claimant

commitment;.

(6) In Schedule 2 (supplementary provisions) after paragraph 4 there is inserted—

Regulations may prescribe circumstances in which a person may be

30entitled to employment and support allowance without having

accepted a claimant commitment.

(7) In section 31(2) of the Welfare Reform Act 2009 (action plans: well-being of

children), in subsection (5) inserted into section 14 of the Welfare Reform Act

2007, after “preparing any” there is inserted “claimant commitment or”.

54 35Work experience etc

In section 13 of the Welfare Reform Act 2007 (work-related activity), after

subsection (7) there is inserted—

(8) The reference to activity in subsection (7) includes work experience or

a work placement.

Welfare Reform BillPage 38

55 Hardship payments

(1) In the Welfare Reform Act 2007 after section 16 there is inserted—

16A Hardship payments

(1) Regulations may make provision for the making of payments

5(“hardship payments”) by way of an employment and support

allowance to a person where—

(a) the amount otherwise payable to the person in respect of an

employment and support allowance is reduced by virtue of

regulations under section 11(3), 12(3) or 13(3), and

(b) 10the person is or will be in hardship.

(2) Regulations under this section may in particular make provision as

to—

(a) circumstances in which a person is to be treated as being or not

being in hardship;

(b) 15matters to be taken into account in determining whether a

person is or will be in hardship;

(c) requirements or conditions to be met by a person in order to

receive hardship payments;

(d) the amount or rate of hardship payments;

(e) 20the period for which hardship payments may be made.

Claimant responsibilities after introduction of universal credit

56 Claimant responsibilities for employment and support allowance

(1) The Welfare Reform Act 2007 is amended as follows.

(2) For sections 11 to 16 (and the italic heading preceding section 11) there is

25substituted—

Work-related requirements
11 Work-related requirements

(1) The following provisions of this Part provide for the Secretary of State

to impose work-related requirements with which persons entitled to an

30employment and support allowance must comply for the purposes of

this Part.

(2) In this Part “work-related requirement” means—

(a) a work-focused interview requirement (see section 11B);

(b) a work preparation requirement (see section 11C).

(3) 35The work-related requirements which may be imposed on a person

depend on which of the following groups the person falls into—

(a) persons subject to no work-related requirements (see section

11D);

(b) persons subject to work-focused interview requirement only

40(see section 11E);

(c) persons subject to work-focused interview and work

preparation requirements (see section 11F).

Welfare Reform BillPage 39

11A Claimant commitment

(1) A claimant commitment is a record of the responsibilities of a person

entitled to an employment and support allowance in relation to the

award of the allowance.

(2) 5A claimant commitment is to be prepared by the Secretary of State and

may be reviewed and updated as the Secretary of State thinks fit.

(3) A claimant commitment is to be in such form as the Secretary of State

thinks fit.

(4) A claimant commitment is to include—

(a) 10a record of the requirements that the person must comply with

under this Part (or such of them as the Secretary of State

considers it appropriate to include),

(b) any prescribed information, and

(c) any other information the Secretary of State considers it

15appropriate to include.

(5) For the purposes of this Part a person accepts a claimant commitment

if, and only if, the claimant accepts the most up-to-date version of it in

such manner as may be prescribed.

11B Work-focused interview requirement

(1) 20In this Part a “work-focused interview requirement” is a requirement

that a person participate in one or more work-focused interviews as

specified by the Secretary of State.