In-work progression support provided should be appropriate to an individual claimant’s circumstances. Support should aim to help claimants find a job that is better suited to their skills, experience, ambitions and individual requirements. It should not merely consist of setting targets to apply for a particular number of jobs each week, without regard to suitability or quality. If mandatory requirements are set, caution should be taken that they are reasonable and appropriate.
Limited information about the Universal Credit In-Work Progression Randomised Control Trials is available, and it appears very small numbers of claimants in Scotland are involved in them. However when the results are published, CAS believes it is important that full information and data is released for analysis.
In addition to the groups of claimants already exempt, CAS recommends mandatory requirements should not be placed on people who require childcare to be able to work; people with health conditions or disabilities which limit the amount of hours they can work; and people employed in zero hours contracts or similar forms of variable hours arrangement.
To encourage employers to facilitate progression CAS recommends the UK Government continue to increase the National Minimum Wage; encourage payment of the independently-calculated Living Wage; legislate to protect workers on zero hours contracts, and actively discourage employers from misusing them.
Citizens Advice Scotland believes it would not be appropriate to sanction Universal Credit claimants who are in work, until a fundamental review of the purpose and efficacy of the current JSA, ESA and UC sanctions regime and the impact it has on individuals, families and other services has been conducted. This review should also address whether applying sanctions has a clear and demonstrable positive impact on helping in-work claimants find appropriate, better paying work.