Rights to refuse Zero Hour contracts: JSA and Universal Credit

“Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from what date he plans that the refusal of a job on a zero hours contract will be sanctionable by Jobcentre Plus advisers; and if he will provide protection to claimants with caring responsibilities which limit their work availability. [197974]

Esther McVey: JSA claimants are not required to apply for zero hours contract jobs and therefore will not be sanctioned if they do not apply for such jobs.

Universal credit means that claimants can accept any offer of work without fear of their benefits or the support they receive from the Jobcentre being negatively affected. They will always be better off in work.

Under universal credit, if a claimant turns down the offer of employment without good reason a sanction can be applied. Claimants always have the opportunity to provide a good reason.

Claimants who turn down the offer of employment under a zero hours contract because of an exclusivity clause will always be considered to have good reason and no sanction will apply.

Decision Makers will also consider whether the job was suitable for the claimant taking into account the specifics of the role, the type of work, any agreed restrictions on hours and the claimant’s particular circumstances, including any caring responsibilities.” Source: House of Commons Written Answers 12 May 2014 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140512/text/140512w0002.htm#140512w0002.htm_wqn18