Search rightsnet
Search options

Where

Benefit

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction

From

to

Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Other universal credit issues  →  Thread

Holidays on UC

 1 2 > 

 

Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 1143

Joined: 16 June 2010

Is it correct that there is no provision in UC to be absent for a 14-day holiday and be treated as actively seeking, as there was in JSA?

I can’t see that a holiday would count as being absent to “deal with” a temporary circumstance (UC reg 95, examples in the ADM at J3071), or would meet any of the exemptions in reg 99.

Our case involves someone who - so it turns out - would have been better off delaying the start of their UC claim til after their prearranged holiday, rather than start it and get a sanction.

But I’m also now wondering about claimants in part-time work. Can they take holidays while fulfilling a claimant commitment?

     
Andrew Dutton
forum member

Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 1289

Joined: 12 October 2012

I certainly think it’s been removed. Presumably such a thing would be purely discretionary.  “Yes you can go on holiday but look for work everyday” ?

     
Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 1143

Joined: 16 June 2010

Which presumably could include those taking annual leave from a part-time job .. “Hey, you’re now available to carry out job-seeking all day, every day, for the next 2 weeks, not just outside your part-time hours ..”

     
SarahJBatty
forum member

Money Adviser, Thirteen, Middlesbrough

Send message

Total Posts: 345

Joined: 12 July 2012

Thanks for raising this issue.  Been thinking about it and it is quite a significant issue really.
Someone in work and receiving Tax Credits or Housing Benefit at the moment and therefore not subject to conditionality, would be able to go away on holiday without a second thought.  In fact they would expect, given their rights within employment law to holidays, that this is considered normal.

     
Andrew Dutton
forum member

Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 1289

Joined: 12 October 2012

I wonder if, with working people and UC, it could be arguable that any annual leave allowance in their contract of employment should be reflected in the UC Claimant Commitment and honoured accordingly.

This would of course not help those who have no job or whose leave allowance is rubbish or nonexistent.

But if UC is supposed to ‘mimic work’ in its operation, perhaps we could extend that concept and say that in that case there should be reasonable leave entitlement for all claimants which also ‘mimics work’.

Bet that won’t play well.

     
nevip
forum member

welfare rights adviser, sefton council, liverpool

Send message

Total Posts: 2919

Joined: 16 June 2010

Forcing people to look for work/more work during their annual fortnightly holiday almost certainly breaches their right to private/family life under the HRA.  Yes, it pursues the legitimate aim of a democratic society (reducing unemployment) but it is not the least intrusive means of doing so and is wholly disproportionate.  The measure is also wholly irrational given that it has never been part of the job seeking regime and particularly at a time when the government says that employment is at a record high since the 1980’s.

     
Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 1143

Joined: 16 June 2010

That’s a good point. Though, most of the first wave of UC claimants will be single, and so (I presume) unable to rely on the ‘family life’ side of the argument? It feels like there should be a broader protection (I don’t think JCP discretion will cut it).

UC reg 95(1)(a) requires that either (i) “the time which the claimant spends taking action for the purpose of obtaining paid work is at least the claimant’s expected number of hours per week” (minus deductions for other work, or dealing with temporary circumstances), or else (ii) that the SoS “is satisfied that the claimant has taken all reasonable action for the purpose of obtaining paid work despite the number of hours that the claimant spends taking such action being lower than the expected number of hours per week; and ... that action gives the claimant the best prospects of obtaining work.”

It might be argued by a part-time worker that taking annual leave is actually consistent with para (ii), in that the improving your employability can and should include looking after your own health and wellbeing.

EU Directive 2003/88 provides that the purpose of paid annual leave is not just a perk of employment, it is to enable a worker to enjoy rest, relaxation and leisure for the protection of health and safety, both for their own benefit, and potentially that of their colleagues. A 52 week per annum full-time jobsearch requirement would undermine this objective.


(I don’t know if that argument would easily hold up? This is not immediately relevant to a client of ours, but I can’t find anything about this aspect of UC conditionality, so I’m trying to think it all through..)

      [ Edited: 25 Oct 2015 at 11:31 am by Jon (CHDCA) ]
Andrew Dutton
forum member

Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 1289

Joined: 12 October 2012

I’ve put in a request for information on how DWP will manage this matter, but I suspect the answer will be ‘on a case-by-case basis’.

     
Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 1143

Joined: 16 June 2010

Thanks Andrew, I’ll be interested to see what they say.

     
Andrew Dutton
forum member

Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 1289

Joined: 12 October 2012

DWP’s reply:

Under JSA rules, a claimant can go away within the UK for up to two weeks but cannot usually leave the UK or their claim will be closed. The claimant still needs to comply with the rules of JSA and can be asked to look for work whilst they are away.

Under Universal Credit a claimant can go abroad for a period of a month for any reason, a longer period of up to six months temporary absence abroad is also allowable for reasons of medical treatment. However, if a claimant chooses to go on holiday in Great Britain or abroad
they must continue to carry out the work-related requirements as set out on their Claimant Commitment.

No allowances are made within the conditionality regime for claimants going on holiday. For example claimants within the All Work-Related Requirements Group with no restrictions on their availability will still be expected to be immediately available to attend a job interview or take up an offer of employment, even if this means cutting short a holiday.

They are also required to attend their normal appointments and failure to do so will incur a sanction.

Being on holiday would not be considered by a DWP Decision Maker as good reason for not carrying out any work search or availability requirements.

Regulation 11 of the Universal Credit regulations 2013 sets out that a person on Universal Credit is able to leave the UK for a period not exceeding a month (or not expected to exceed a
month). This can be extended in certain exceptional circumstances.

However, this provision does not exempt a claimant from work related requirements as set out on the Claimant
Commitment Here is a link to the regulation:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/376/regulation/11

     
Jon (CHDCA)
forum member

Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

Send message

Total Posts: 1143

Joined: 16 June 2010

Thanks for this. So there’s no extra guidance, I guess the message from DWP is:
keep up your (online) jobsearch while you’re away, and be prepared to cut it short and return if you get an offer. Happy holidays!

     
nevip
forum member

welfare rights adviser, sefton council, liverpool

Send message

Total Posts: 2919

Joined: 16 June 2010

“That’s a good point. Though, most of the first wave of UC claimants will be single, and so (I presume) unable to rely on the ‘family life’ side of the argument..”

That depends.  “Family” for the purposes of the HRA is not limited to the definition of benefit family in means tested benefits.  Furthermore, the right to private life is separate from the right to family life, although often used together.

     
NickyB
forum member

Information and Advice, Barrow and District Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 6

Joined: 24 August 2015

Re-activating an old thread in the hope someone may have some suggestions or updates for the following:

My client has a 28 day sanction decision because he was on holiday for a week and could not meet his work search requirement.

The holiday in question was booked before he became unemployed and he was away for a week, in Portugal and had no way of searching for work while he was there.

The client accepts and knew that he would not be entitled to UC for the period he was away but is understandably annoyed at the 28 day sanction.

The MR merely states that a holiday where the work search requirement cannot be fulfilled is not allowed and the sanction stands…..

     
1964
forum member

Deputy Manager, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit

Send message

Total Posts: 1711

Joined: 16 June 2010

Oh for pity’s sake…

I don’t know the answer (though I think if it was me I’d be bunging in an MR anyway and raising it with the client’s MP in the faint hope he or she might be prepared to rattle a few cages higher up the food chain) but things really have reached an all-time low haven’t they? How petty can this shower get? Why on Earth should someone be punished for taking a short, pre-arranged holiday? How out of pocket would the client have been if he had not gone? 

Honestly- it really is reaching the point where I’m ashamed to live in the UK..

     
flair
forum member

Welfare Rights Officer, Linstone Housing Association

Send message

Total Posts: 34

Joined: 16 June 2010

If you are unable to carry out your claimant commitment while away, would it therefore be better to close your claim to UC if going on holiday and then reclaim on return and thereby avoid a potential 28 day sanction? I realise it may delay matters, but would mean less loss of benefit in these circumstances.

Sorry Nickyb - I realise this doesn’t help your client, but was just wondering.

     
Claire Hodgson
forum member

PI Team, BHP Law, Durham

Send message

Total Posts: 165

Joined: 17 October 2013

i read the dmg re JSA this morning, and you weren’t allowed holiday on that either - or if you did go away within GB you had to be contactable at all times and prepared to drop everything for any interview that anyone might offer you (even on saturday/sunday…..is that a day when employers do interviews? no, it isn’t..)

     
NickyB
forum member

Information and Advice, Barrow and District Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 6

Joined: 24 August 2015

I don’t know the answer either - it’s so frustrating. I am going to refer to the MP, I might shove an appeal in, fail, UT it etc etc etc and see if that does any good….will see what the client wants to do. He’s now working though so will probably just want to forget it when I explain exactly what it’s all going to mean…..

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
forum member

Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 392

Joined: 2 June 2015

NickyB - 08 February 2016 04:47 PM

Re-activating an old thread in the hope someone may have some suggestions or updates for the following:

My client has a 28 day sanction decision because he was on holiday for a week and could not meet his work search requirement.

The holiday in question was booked before he became unemployed and he was away for a week, in Portugal and had no way of searching for work while he was there.

The client accepts and knew that he would not be entitled to UC for the period he was away but is understandably annoyed at the 28 day sanction.

The MR merely states that a holiday where the work search requirement cannot be fulfilled is not allowed and the sanction stands…..

I too would be tempted to advise your client to raise the matter with his MP, but also to go to the media. This cannot be an isolated case, and I imagine JCP would find such draconian measures embarrassing to justify in the public forum. I am mindful that they may use the argument, “why should these scroungers get holidays at the taxpayer’s expense?”, but don’t forget UC conditionality is going to be applied to “hard working people” if IDS gets his wicked way. That will make it much harder to justify.

     
1964
forum member

Deputy Manager, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit

Send message

Total Posts: 1711

Joined: 16 June 2010

Claire Hodgson - 09 February 2016 12:14 PM

i read the dmg re JSA this morning, and you weren’t allowed holiday on that either - or if you did go away within GB you had to be contactable at all times and prepared to drop everything for any interview that anyone might offer you (even on saturday/sunday…..is that a day when employers do interviews? no, it isn’t..)

Yes indeed, it was always the case- and that would be my argument re MR if the client does want to pursue it. I imagine he was still contactable had an interview hoved miraculously into view (on presumption he had some sort of mobile device with him) and as he has since found work it’s pretty damn clear that he was still in the job market despite his trip abroad. So as far as I am concerned slapping a sanction on him is totally unacceptable.  I do hope he will agree to pursue it on general principals if nothing else.

This one really has got up my nose…..

     
Benny Fitzpatrick
forum member

Welfare Rights Officer, Southway Housing Trust, Manchester

Send message

Total Posts: 392

Joined: 2 June 2015

It’s promoting a nasty idea which seems more and more prevalent recently that those on benefits should be entitled to a lower quality of life than everyone else. In other words, that it is OK to discriminate against certain sections of society (i.e those who are not in a position to defend themselves). First it’s benefit claimants, then “migrants”. What next? The disabled, religious groups, goths? etc etc.

We have been here before:- Germany in the 1930s. It is dangerous and should be challenged at every opportunity.

     
1964
forum member

Deputy Manager, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit

Send message

Total Posts: 1711

Joined: 16 June 2010

Absolutely spot on Benny. I couldn’t have put it better.

     
Mr Finch
forum member

Benefits Adviser, Isle of Wight CAB

Send message

Total Posts: 340

Joined: 4 March 2011

I saw this via Twitter:

Universal Credit : In work, part time claimants sanctioned for taking holidays

This not only looks like abusive sanctioning, but also suggests improper processing of the appeal.

     
Carol Laidlaw
forum member

Oldham Citizens Advice Bureau

Send message

Total Posts: 68

Joined: 20 June 2013

Someone has already made a Freedom of Information request on this subject. The question and answer are reproduced in this blog entry :
samedifference1.com/2016/03/29/universal-credit-in-work-part-time-claimants-sanctioned-for-taking-holidays-and-for-working

Or if you don’t want to type in the whole address, or it doesn’t work (easy to make mistakes with these long addresses) it might be easier to google ‘samedifference1’ and ‘wordpress’ and look for the entry on 29th March.

I don’t know why welfare rights workers don’t make more use of FoI requests to find out about government policy and activities. Though it is useful to look at the website whatdotheyknow first to see if anybody else has made a FoI request on the same subject. A number of people have asked questions about welfare policy and published their answers on that site.

What crosses my mind is that UC claimants in part time work are in effect being denied their right to statutory holidays. What happens when one piece of legislation contradicts another? Is there a precedent for which overrides the other?
What also crosses my mind is that this is also a trade union issue, in that government welfare policy is damaging workers’ rights to statutory holidays. As a shop steward, I will be exploring this with my own union.

There is another issue here too which probably needs a separate thread:
As universal credit gets extended to more people, including single parents, and people with health problems, more and more people will have to claim it whose circumstances mean they can only contemplate taking part time work. As far as I know there is no allowance for this in the UC rules. So these people will be hassled and penalised to keep looking for full time work, or another job, or more hours and so on, when their circumstances are such that they can’t do this. An injustice surely? And something to start a campaign about? Personally, I am amazed that even the current government was **** stupid enough to implement the requirement for UC claimants to be subject to the condition to keep looking for full time work etc. Anybody with a general grasp of how and why people make employment choices would know this was going to be unjust and unworkable for a lot of people.

     
Daphne
Administrator

rightsnet writer / editor

Send message

Total Posts: 2025

Joined: 14 March 2014

Here’s a link to Carol’s article

Carol - regulation 88 of the UC Regs does allow for hours to be reduced for those with caring responsibilities (including children under 13) or with physical or mental impairments - though how easy it is to negotiate those in practice is another matter…

Expected hours
88.—(1) The “expected number of hours per week” in relation to a claimant for the purposes of determining their individual threshold in regulation 90 or for the purposes of regulation 95 or 97 is 35 unless some lesser number of hours applies under paragraph (2).

(2) The lesser number of hours is—

(a)where—

(i)the claimant is a relevant carer, a responsible carer or a responsible foster parent, and

(ii)the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant has reasonable prospects of obtaining paid work,

the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is compatible with those caring responsibilities;
(b)where the claimant is a responsible carer for a child under the age of 13, the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is compatible with the child’s normal school hours (including the normal time it takes the child to travel to and from school); or

(c)where the claimant has a physical or mental impairment, the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is reasonable in light of the impairment

      [ Edited: 1 Apr 2016 at 09:57 am by Daphne ]
Carol Laidlaw
forum member

Oldham Citizens Advice Bureau

Send message

Total Posts: 68

Joined: 20 June 2013

Daphne - 01 April 2016 09:53 AM

Here’s a link to Carol’s article

Carol - regulation 88 of the UC Regs does allow for hours to be reduced for those with caring responsibilities (including children under 13) or with physical or mental impairments - though how easy it is to negotiate those in practice is another matter…

Expected hours
88.—(1) The “expected number of hours per week” in relation to a claimant for the purposes of determining their individual threshold in regulation 90 or for the purposes of regulation 95 or 97 is 35 unless some lesser number of hours applies under paragraph (2).

(2) The lesser number of hours is—

(a)where—

(i)the claimant is a relevant carer, a responsible carer or a responsible foster parent, and

(ii)the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant has reasonable prospects of obtaining paid work,

the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is compatible with those caring responsibilities;
(b)where the claimant is a responsible carer for a child under the age of 13, the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is compatible with the child’s normal school hours (including the normal time it takes the child to travel to and from school); or

(c)where the claimant has a physical or mental impairment, the number of hours that the Secretary of State considers is reasonable in light of the impairment

Sorry Daphne but that makes absolutely no sense without a context.
Does this regulation relate to the number of hours claimants are expected to spend looking for work (which is what I think it refers to)?
Or does it give claimants thr right to work only part time without being hassled and punished for not looking for full time work?
And how does it relate to the right to statutory holidays?

     
MaggieZed
forum member

Sutton Citizens Advice Bureau - Trainer

Send message

Total Posts: 10

Joined: 22 July 2015

Sorry I’m not sure how to do quotes,
“What crosses my mind is that UC claimants in part time work are in effect being denied their right to statutory holidays. What happens when one piece of legislation contradicts another? Is there a precedent for which overrides the other?
What also crosses my mind is that this is also a trade union issue, in that government welfare policy is damaging workers’ rights to statutory holidays. As a shop steward, I will be exploring this with my own union.”


I have been campaigning with Gill Thompson whose brother David Clapson died on a sanction for some time now and
this was one of the points when I wrote the article that we am trying to investigate.
If anyone has any ideas on this issue I would be more than grateful. We never thought of going to a Union but as we are both Unite Community members and are meeting up with them next week, we can bring it up with them then.

 

      [ Edited: 1 Apr 2016 at 02:02 pm by MaggieZed ]
Andrew Dutton
forum member

Derbyshire Welfare Rights Service

Send message

Total Posts: 1289

Joined: 12 October 2012

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
forum member

Information and Advice Resources, Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 1459

Joined: 7 January 2016

And don’t forget that DWP spokesperson at their Operational Stakeholders Forum told us that in-work conditionality trials were happening without claimants being threatened with sanctions.

     
Daphne
Administrator

rightsnet writer / editor

Send message

Total Posts: 2025

Joined: 14 March 2014

Although Paul, as I recall, a woman at the meeting - who I think may have lived in an area where a trial was ongoing - had been told differently by local officers - confusion reigns once more…

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
forum member

Information and Advice Resources, Age UK

Send message

Total Posts: 1459

Joined: 7 January 2016

Daphne - 14 April 2016 02:58 PM

Although Paul, as I recall, a woman at the meeting - who I think may have lived in an area where a trial was ongoing - had been told differently by local officers - confusion reigns once more…

Yes Daphne, I also wrote to them as I’ve had sight of a letter sent to in-work trail claimant that unequivocally stated UC payments at risk for non-compliance and they said they’ll look into it and let us know at next meeting.

Not holding my breath.

     
Welfare Rights Adviser
forum member

Social Inclusion Unit, Swansea

Send message

Total Posts: 130

Joined: 23 June 2010

At WRAC last week the lovely UC woman, clearly said 3 appraches with the pilots due to hit more of wales - control ie do nothing, softly softly - bit of encouragement, full on with sanctions
asked about holidays and fitting in with shift patterns and no proper answers