FAQs: Work programmes


What is the Work Programme?

The Work Programme is a special project run by Jobcentre Plus designed to help people find work and help part-time workers to find full-time work. It is a Jobcentre Plus programme that is run by providers. The Work Program focuses on training, support and work-experience.

Who is eligible for the Work Programme?

The Work Programme is a requirement for individuals who receive certain types of benefits over a period of time. People who are on the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) may have to take part in the Work Programme after nine months, for those aged 18 to 24 years, or twelve months for those aged over 25 years. People who are on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and are in the work-related activity group may have to take part in the Work Programme. People who are full-time carers or single parents with children under five years may be exempt.

Can you volunteer for the Work Programme?

You may be able to volunteer for the Work Programme even if you are not required to participate. To volunteer, you must be receiving ESA or the Pension Credit or, in England, the Incapacity Benefit or Income Support.

Are voluntary workers entitled to any pay?

Volunteers are generally not entitled to be paid for their services. However, if the arrangements under which a person volunteers adds up to an employment or worker's contract, they may be entitled to be paid the minimum national wage. This does not generally apply, however, if the volunteering is actually in the voluntary sector, such as for a charity or not-for-profit organisation, in which case a voluntary worker is only entitled to receive payment for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred in carrying out the work.

Do volunteers have employment rights?

All workers, whether voluntary or paid, have certain employment rights. All workers are entitled to safe-working conditions and to be free from discrimination and harassment. Workers who are not given these rights can make a legal claim at an employment tribunal.

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