Upon reading the Metro this morning I was slightly delighted to find people have been commenting on the government led unpaid work schemes.
The scheme is that if you are on JSA (job seekers allowance) which pays under 25’s £53.45 per week maximum than you will be asked to work for a company (which you may have a choice in to a certain extent) for a period of time (maybe up to six months). The programme is open to those who are over 25 and also claiming JSA however they have a longer wait to be ‘asked’ to attend an interview on the topic and receive a higher rate of benefit at £67.50 per week.
Find out more on the ‘work programme’ here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Jobseekers/programmesandservices/DG_197781
If one is to refuse the work programme the job centre may stop your benefits, so when they ask you to go on the programme there is no choice, except the choice of work opportunities that they can arrange for you. For example; if they have a work placement at two shops you may get to choose which one you work at.
What does participation on the programme offer the enrolled individual? Work experience, building a relationship with a company that may choose to offer you a job and it could also build your confidence if you have been out of work.
There are however some downfalls to the scheme which may or may not have been overlooked by the government such as; people who are working full time for JSA are otherwise pre-occupied from looking for their own PAID job, people who work for these companies will not necessarily gain employment at the end of their work period and if companies know about this then they are more likely to employ free labour than advertise paid job vacancies.
So here is the story of a young woman who felt forced to go into work placement with the job centre and feels that she has lost out:
A summary of the comments in today’s Metro:
‘A job is a job if it’s fair.’
‘What benefit would it be to receive a fifth of the pay of an employee to work’?
In reference to a young female in the above linked article who worked in Poundland on the scheme ‘of course [name] didn’t get a job in Poundland [referring to the end of her work placement] -it [Poundland] would be mad to offer her a job when it has a consent supply of free labour’
Please comment below with any experiences, opinions or such on this topic!