Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Jobseekers subject to workfare from day one

with 49 comments

The BBC has announced that those making a new claim for Jobseekers Allowance are liable to begin working for their benefits from day one of their claim. This means the majority of new claims could realistically begin a 4 week “Work Activity” period beginning from the second month of claiming.

Those with the implied accusation that they might already be working or doing activity which makes them not Available for Work are more likely to be placed on to such workfare plan.

It is claimed that such 4 weeks of fulltime working is to keep people in the work routine *and* to market themselves to prospective employers – little chance of this when private businesses, councils and charities thrive on the free labour without having any job vacancies going.

There has been no discussion of a cap – so its likely jobseekers can be placed on numerous Work Activity periods – especially those where spiteful and libel rumours of being a benefit cheat has been attributed to you by a Jobcentre Plus staff member without any benefit fraud investigation ever taking place or any evidence to suggest it is even likely.

Of course, my main concerns is, how can you be Actively Seeking Employment if doing a fulltime job? Possible, but not effective.

Yesterday, a new highest unique visitor (and hits) record was reached on this blog – so concerns are steady rising (I didn’t think we would top the record achieved by the New Deal Fraud stuff etc.).

Of course, this will be a scheme that is different to the Work Programme, so further workfare is possible. I guess it similar to a New Deal Work Trial.

Implications of this means its not possible to claim Jobseekers Allowance and do fulltime work (over 16 hours of activity) unless they change the law.

It is likely jobseekers will be placed on to a “Training Allowance” (hence with referral its not realistic for a day one start, although theoretically possible, as it won’t be mixed benefit weeks – so could be from following week – especially for Rapid Reclaims and those who have claimed before) to get round the conditions of Jobseekers Allowance.

This is likely to be roped in to an “Employment Course” (or given a fancy title) and registered by statute which gives automatic exemption from the National Minimum Wage.


49 Responses

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  1. You know there’s millions of people like me who don’t have a degree level education and don’t have any relatives working in some of the big companies who could help give them a start, so we have no choice to work in temporary contracts for small businesses and agencies, these employers bitch on about red tape and the need for a so called flexible work force, the net result if we have to rely on JSA maybe 2 or 3 times a year via rapid reclaim
    My response to all changes are as follows: Drop the pretence of caring you heartless bastards, you might as well just move everyone who’s on JSA to the US style food stamps system and show us your true colours.

    The only problem with us the working classes is that we are so f@cking docile and stupid, we rather fight at footie match or a Friday night out than for something that is bound to effect us at some point in our lives.

    I’m sick of hearing these 3 words all the time –“ WHY SHOULD I” from the same people.

    Your always one pay cheque away from unemployment you idiots

    BTW who are the numpties in Birkenhead who keeps voting for IDS ‘s bitch Frank Field
    Field is a Labour MP somewhere to the right of Sir Keith Joseph and Joseph Goebbels


    November 12, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    • Well, if we don’t all turn out and vote for Frank the Tory will get in, silly 🙂

      Birkenhead Numpty

      November 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    • Is that fair?

      Call me a Counumdrum

      November 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    • Spot on…

      1. Its not what you know, but who you know

      2. (If you don’t know anyone relevant) Knowledge is (even so much more) power(ful).

      3. Cash is king (buy your way… not applicable for jobs really lol but you can buy qualifications/study/lessons etc.)

      Work Programme

      November 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    • Absolutely correct, Funkfish. I live in Mr Field’s constituency and the quicker he defects to his natural home, The Conservative Party, the better. This crypto Tory has represented an area where they don’t bother counting Labour votes they weigh them since 1979. As well as advising “Mrs T” (Thatcher)to resign as Prime Minister in 1990 and calling her a “hero” ,”Mad Frankie” is now involved with a right wing think tank called Reform. All this and countless adverse comments about “the underclass” and claimants in general and single parents in particular does make you wonder why the Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party has’nt sent a car round for Frankie long before now.


      November 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm

  2. What the hell is the difference between them?


    November 12, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    • Well, one wears a blue rosette, the other a red rosette 🙂

      Birkenhead Numpty

      November 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

  3. Field Isn’t just an MP like the majority of the Labour MP’s agreeing with this because of the polling numbers, he’s is the principle architect of the white paper alongside IDS
    Pressure your constituency Labour Party to deselect him when he’s up for re-election


    November 12, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    • But Frank has been our MP for years and years, who would we get to replace him 🙂

      Birkenhead Numpty

      November 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

  4. Malcome Tucker…Ha..Ha..!


    November 12, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    • Well, would you rather see someone like Benedict Gummer as the MP for Birkenhead? 🙂

      Birkenhead Numpty

      November 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm

  5. the situation is far from clear,there has been mentioned that appeals will not be allowed with the new proposals,no one knows whats happening except the outlines. the worrying part is people will be forwarded for jobs that have impossible travel arrangements,skills or suitability.




    November 12, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    • ken, this seems a bad deal.

      Actually, its probably favourable. At current, you have to exhaust the appeal process etc. this can take years

      This may allow “fast track” (quicker) cases at High Court and ECHR.

      Work Programme

      November 12, 2010 at 4:05 pm

  6. Funkish, most of my mates who are in work have exactly these experiences.

    I’;d disgregard the polls that say 99% of people want the unemployed cleaning the streets with tooth-brushes.

    Some people, Tories and Cleggite Liberals, always love telling those weaker than themselves what to do. They can get self-righteous. They can play fantasy ordering tin soldiers around.

    Others are badly off. They can simpyly let off the steam they’re accumulating about having to work for shit wages on someone other than the boss.

    Until that is they end up on the Dole themselves.

    Then they can meet the rest of us, who are not idiots, and know what’s going on for the simple reason our mates tell us.

    Andrew Coates

    November 12, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    • Yes, I think the Government is having their poison-the-mind propaganda.

      You will get them everywhere you go… but since the collapse of Woolworths incidently, and with the banks crisis, hundreds of businesses hitting the wall and now council cut backs, defence cuts etc. more people are open minded knowing how precious a job is.

      I think in general people take more of a pity approach than a scrounger-witch-hunt one now.

      Many people have woke up that even working for an employer for 10+ years, your job is never guaranteed safe.

      If I had a tenner for every person who came on my site and on this blog, confused and disgusted about Flexible New Deal (and New Deal for other areas) and Jobcentre Plus… who once didn’t believe jobseekers when they complained, newly unemployed after being in work for ages, realising how crap the system is… I would be on my way to being rich haha

      You only need to visit the BBC website… (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/business/benefits/default.stm) which has a section dedicated to benefits… including a report on Benefit Cheats.

      I think the Government is losing the will to win this battle of mind-control. At first, “everyone who looked foreign was a terrorist”… seemed to wash with many people. Now this, and cuts to welfare budget… and the ConDem(n) Government itself, hmm, I think people are waking up.

      Work for Your Benefit was as far away as 2 years from starting to claim…. making it only for long term claimants and we all assume we’d get a job by then.

      This new Work Activity period can be from start of a benefit claim (and is likely to be) so the short-term claimants are going to be hit hard too.

      Its not the long term claimants who are the most bothered. Most will just accept it and “do the time, for being a waste of space” with only a few rebels out there (percentage of course).

      It is those who cant get a job but will get one within 3 months (maybe 6 months in this climate) and have bills to pay (i.e. those made redudant or laid off) who will be the most upset – mainly because in their eyes, JSA is easy to claim and everyone are lazy scroungers, so doing compliance through Jobcentre Plus AND this Work Activity period is going to be soul shattering.

      I wonder how many news stories of ex-bank managers, teachers, librarians, police officers etc. will be in the news now for either being kicked off benefits OR smashing a window…..

      Work Programme

      November 12, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      • When you think about it, it’s more logical to subject Fresh Claimers to this work experience to “keep them in the loop”. As you say long-termers will just knuckle down and “do the time”.

        Mrs Spock

        November 12, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      • The actual and real intended implementation of these policies could mean that at least some of foaming-at-the-mouthers who are crying out for it;s imposition are the very tossers who are going to be affected by it – talk about turkeys voting for Christmas! If this is indeed the case, I have to hat-tip to IDS on this one!

        Mrs Spock

        November 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm

      • You could say that the long-term unemployed are being used as a Trojan Horse – maybe they aren’t really the intended victims after all.

        Mrs Spock

        November 12, 2010 at 7:26 pm

  7. “You missed a bit Comrade Coates! Get back to your work! You will be here all weekend! You won’t be leaving until every last cobble has been scrubbed! You wont be getting paid for the next 3 years! You will still have to sign on and carry out your placement for the duration of your sanction!”


    November 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm

  8. iDS has apparently said that employment advisors will still be able to use their discretion in favouring those claimants who can convince them that they are looking for work, but it’s not clear whether these claimants will still be required to join the local chain gang/slopping-out parade.

    Squiddly diddly

    November 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    • Discretion sounds great but its even worse than a postcode lottery system.

      Discretion is only made because they don’t know how to properly implement it.

      They say this is flexible and a good idea. The truth is, they don’t know what is.

      This inefficiency has been a major problem with Jobcentre Plus.

      You have the statute law level… and you have the service delivery level which “customers” deal with. Inbetween Jobcentre Plus management tweak the law to how it is applied.

      The decide to make flexible even the inflexible. If the law says you are to be on FND by a certain time… they can delay this as long as they want.

      The law is the law, but unless there is a section of:

      a) enforcement; and
      b) penalty for infringements

      …then it really isn’t against the law.

      Although, welfare is supposed to be very complex (it pretty much is) it could be much more simpler to administer. But this involves a lot of work… its too easy just to make minor amendments and add bits here and there to the jobseekers act 1995 etc.

      Work Programme

      November 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

  9. I’m glad I found this site; it’s full of useful links and info, so I’ll try not to clutter it up too much with thoughts and opinions but as you’ll all know this US style workfare is an emotive subject.

    We don’t have any voice anymore since Blair cut the nuts off the left of the Labour Party years ago and this White Paper has a ton of wiggle room to go even further


    November 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm

  10. WE need to fight the bastards!

    Ed Milipede

    November 13, 2010 at 12:13 am

  11. On the subject of discretionary decisions :

    “…. the courts will ‘read in’ or imply the limits on discretion. The courts will assume, for example, that Parliament did not invest a public authority with a discretion on the basis that it might be exercised irrationally or unreasonably. Similarly a public authority could act ultra vires by acting on irrelelevant considerations, failing to take into account relevant considerations, acting on no evidence, acting to achieve an ulterior purpose, acting on bad faith, acting unfairly or taking action disproportionate to that required. Parliament will not state expressly that power will not be exercised in this way, it assumes it will not be. ”

    Taken from : Administrative Law (2003), Michael Molan.


    November 13, 2010 at 2:40 am

  12. I would like to know if the work fare is implimented who is going to pay somebody to suppervise, eg litter picking,gardening,ditch digging,stacking shelves,cleaning ovens and toilets and who is going to pay these parasites a4e,reed, tesco,asda,connaught,gloriete patiserie,local councils.What i am saying it will cost millions to supervise this bullshit. Its easy for a millionair to exploit the vulnerable disabled mentaly ill.

    Tony montana

    November 13, 2010 at 9:38 am

    • Don’t be daft, Tony. Tesco, Asda, etc. don’t have the money to pay for overseers – that’s the responsibility of the DWP.

      Slave Driver

      November 13, 2010 at 10:31 am

    • You forgot YMCA Training, TNG, CDG, Working Links, Seetec, and Shaw Trust etc.

      Work Programme

      November 13, 2010 at 11:08 am

    • Tony’s got a good point. If the providers aren’t going to pay to run the Work Programme, then the taxpayer will have to fund it.

      Trouble is, the Work Programme is based on the idea it would ultimately pay for itself in benefit savings when the unemployed got jobs. As well all know, there aren’t any jobs. So there won’t be any benefit savings!

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the roll-out of the Work Programme is delayed to later in the year. And even then, it might well be on a much smaller scale than originally envisaged.

      Funny A4e Photos

      November 13, 2010 at 3:40 pm

  13. Will workfare slaves be tasked to man the open rear nature of the new “routemaster” buses to prevent fare dodgers?


    Work Programme

    November 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

  14. Ian Duncan-Smith says that vulnerable people will ALWAYS be protected, but as many of us know who have attended New Deal work programmes, these places are full of people with drug and alcohol dependencies, learning difficulties, slight physical disabilities and mild autism.

    These people are never going to be able to get a job, no matter how hard they try, so they will end up destitute.

    squiddly diddly

    November 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

    • this is the sad side to benefits ‘an job centre adviser said to me that the longer your out of work there’s a chance you will never work again,another said i don’t tell people that.

      at the end of the day its someones life,i believe that everyone deserves a chance,its not always the case however.

      yes some people do have issues that are placed on these “programs” some have personality problems and will always be in and out of work.working with these people takes understanding patience,and a wider perspective,sadly not everyone has this.

      its how you look,how you behave and how the personal “mold” is with the general population that determines what society perceives,its not what the “other world” of the dhs portrays’.i suppose it has too.

      no ones perfect,attitudes of “we don’t make mistakes here” are common and then found its all wrong quickly underneath.


      November 13, 2010 at 2:41 pm

      • Its true. 6 months+ = difficult

        18 month+ = almost impossible.

        Those out of work for 10 years etc. need to be allowed to starve to death. Of course this wont happen and is a corruption to our society.

        The major problem I have is the genuine disabled people who were denied help to return back to work, who have now improve or got better, and not only have a disability which could tell an emplyoer “no” but have a long period from working.

        The only way to get the really long term unemployed (the small percentage that exists) into work is a Labour Future Jobs Fund expired system where the Government pays the wages for 6 months without any guarantees of being kept on afterwards. This costs more than benefits… a waste of time!

        Work Programme

        November 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      • expired? lol

        I mean “inspired”!

        Work Programme

        November 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

      • Too true Flexi. Also, it doesn’t matter what your previous job was or how many years work experience you have – it’s the “dis-engagement” from the labour market that counts.


        November 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      • I mean too true Work Programme, it’s not like your one and the same person lol 🙂


        November 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

      • Yeah, I am Flexi~ and Work Programme.

        Recently changed the name and URL off by comments for purposes of Phase 1 of coverage on the Work Programme.

        My old Flexible New Deal and New Deal websites will all be gone by End of March 2011; starting from the new year.

        All the old content, however, is archived into the new site as some people will find it interesting especially comparing the Work Programme with the old Flexible New Deal and New Deal schemes.

        Work Programme

        November 13, 2010 at 10:46 pm

  15. Just ss predicted: the campaign to scrap minimum wage picking pp steam. I knew this was coming. So, going forward, the choice will be to take that £1/hr job, or get benefits denied to you for 3 years. Those student protests are going to look like a garden party compared to what is to come.

    Boom Boom

    November 13, 2010 at 12:29 pm

  16. What’s the time scale on the implementation on this?

    IDS said the in the commons “summer 2011 for the Work Program” and the Work Program providers contracts start in May & June next year , yet the Universal Credit(that’s also the part according to the White Paper with all the new sanctions)doesn’t start until 2013.


    November 13, 2010 at 2:18 pm

  17. Excellent article by Polly Toynbee in today’s Guardian.

    I love this woman! 🙂


    squiddly diddly

    November 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    • I don’t know about that mate, this is Polly Toynbee on the housing benefit reform

      “Who will do the cleaning, caring and catering in expensive places once low earners are cleared away?”

      Journalistic champion for the poor or some journo worried they may loose her cleaner or prompt service at posh restaurants

      The jury is still out on that one for me


      November 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

      • I agree Funky, Toynbee is not to be relied on.

        Andrew Coates

        November 14, 2010 at 12:31 pm

      • +1 I don’t trust Toynbee at all. What are her motives, what is her real agenda. Is she just playing a part, supplying a dialectic? Just another Champagne Socialist, member of the Chattering Classes? Having said her book Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain is worth a read.

        Toyn Bee

        November 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  18. Plus Two Letters in the Guardian.

    * Those discussing welfare reform should learn some basic economics (Hardship payments to be scrapped, 12 November). The main reason there is high unemployment is that there is insufficient aggregate demand. A second reason is that a market economy needs some unemployment, for efficiency and anti-inflationary reasons. The move to therapy for the unemployed, which Labour pushed, and the workfare scheme of the coalition government, treat unemployment as mainly due to behavioural deficiencies by the unemployed. This is nonsense.

    Workfare rests unashamedly on the view, stated by the government’s American adviser, Lawrence Mead, that welfare should be made so unattractive that the claimants will take any job and that they should be encouraged to “blame” themselves. There are many reasons for believing workfare is misguided and ultimately vicious. I have reviewed the evidence in several books, and years ago predicted that this is where the neoliberal state would end.

    The objections to the government’s scheme and to the Labour party’s current position include cost. Workfare has proved extremely expensive, and it only manages to be less so because it drives people off welfare and out of the labour market, not into jobs. Guaranteeing the unemployed a job for four weeks is a sleight of hand. What jobs? The likelihood is that they will be “make work” schemes, scarcely of the type to motivate people. They will disrupt any search for meaningful activity, and could intensify any adverse attitude to jobs. If they were real jobs they would lower the opportunity and wages of others already doing or hoping to do such jobs.

    But worst of all, coercion will be advanced. There is no evidence that vast numbers of people are suffering from a “habit of worklessness”. Many of those not in jobs work hard, caring for frail relatives or children, dealing with episodic disabilities, and generally working. Building social policy on the basis of a tiny minority being “scroungers” or “lazy” is expensive illiberal folly. Much better would be to go in the other direction, delinking basic income security from jobs and then improving incentives for work of all kinds.

    Guy Standing

    Professor of economic security, University of Bath

    • Martin Kettle (Stop hoping for the worst – give Duncan Smith a chance, 12 November) misrepresented Beveridge to justify IDS’s savage attack on welfare rights. Beveridge did indeed say social insurance should be the “minimum income needed for subsistence”, but he wrote in his report that the minimum was a “matter of judgment; estimates on this point change with time, and generally, in a progressive community change upwards”. Instead unemployment benefit has become increasingly devalued: if it had increased in line with earnings since 1979 it would be worth £110 per week today not a measly £65, one of the lowest rates in Europe. Beveridge was also fundamentally opposed to means-testing, and stated “unemployment benefit will continue at the same rate without means test so long as unemployment lasts”.

    At a time when there are 2.5 million people out of work and less than half a million vacancies, that principle has never been more important to avoid the demonising and bullying that dominates the welfare debate and IDS’s proposals for workfare. The underlying Beveridge principle was to provide people with social insurance to give them dignity and an income when out of work or incapacitated. It is shameful that Labour has abandoned that principle too, but we must fight to restore it.

    Andrew Fisher

    Labour Representation Committee

    Andrew Coates

    November 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

  19. It will be interesting to see how much attention one right wing think tank and a Tory MP get in their recent call to abolish the minimum wage.

    I suppose it was bound to happen.

    Squiddly Diddly

    November 13, 2010 at 4:11 pm


    In a bold plan to get Britain off benefits the Government announced this week that it is cracking down on the work-shy. People who repeatedly refuse job offers could have their unemployment benefits cut and in return for state hand-outs they will be ordered to carry out menial tasks such as sweeping the streets.

    According to Prime Minister David Cameron the scheme means an end to a life on benefits but it has provoked an outcry and claims that the poor will suffer.

    Although our benefits system is envied by workers in many countries the basic £65.45 a week on offer to the unemployed pales into insignificance when compared with some of the deals in Europe which are based on most recent salaries.

    Yet elsewhere payments to the unemployed are miserly and only a fraction of the world’s working population can rely on state help when employment dries up.

    At a time when the recession has sent the global jobless total soaring to a record 212million we look at how other nations treat their unemployed and discover the best country in which to be out of work.


    American workers cast a disbelieving eye on the generous benefits paid to their unemployed British counterparts. They work longer hours, have fewer holidays and when lay-offs happen benefits are usually meagre.

    Each state runs its own unemployment insurance scheme following national guidelines and the maximum period for receiving benefits is normally 26 weeks. This can be extended when times are hard and during the recent recession it has been stretched to at least 34 weeks. In the worst job-loss black spots some people were entitled to claim benefits for up to 99 weeks. That’s the longest emergency extension since the Depression of the Thirties.

    The burden of funding the insurance falls on employers, not workers or the taxpayer. The amount paid is only about 36 per cent of recent earnings up to a state maximum and in some areas it’s claimed benefit levels are so low many people don’t apply.

    In Texas the average monthly rate is £46 per person but the US system could become even more draconian. It has been suggested that workers should be forced to pay into private accounts which would prepare them for potential joblessness.

    Some states force the unemployed to work. New Yorkers on benefits have been told to sweep the streets for 20 hours a week, clean away graffiti or rake leaves in Central Park. In 2007 David Cameron sang the praises of Wisconsin, a state that docks single mothers’ money for every hour they fail to show up for the work found for them.

    More than 14 million Americans are relying on benefit cheques as unemployment runs at 9.5 per cent.


    The benefits system, which is funded entirely by taxpayers, mirrors our own. It is designed to offer support no matter how long the period of unemployment but has attracted fierce criticism for creating a “culture of welfare dependence”. The benefits are adjusted twice a year to keep pace with inflation.

    Unemployed single adults are eligible for benefits of £141.50 a week under the Newstart programme but they must agree to enrol on training courses. The out-of-work can also claim rent of up to £69.50 a week. Aussies who can prove that they are looking for work by producing evidence of having made 10 job applications in the preceding fortnight also get the payment.

    There’s also a scheme called Work For The Dole, offering an extra handout, which allows the unemployed to do voluntary work or help in areas of the country which have been stricken by drought. The unemployment rate Down Under has just jumped to 5.4 per cent, its highest level for six months, and the government is under pressure to make spending cuts.

    In theory it’s possible for an Australian to remain on benefits for his entire working life. Earlier this year opposition leader Tony Abbott admitted he was considering a scheme which could cut young people’s dole to encourage them to take up posts in areas where there’s a shortage of workers, including the mines of Western Australia.

    Abbott, who has also suggested that the unemployed should pick fruit, said: “I’m in favour of a system where people have a go, where people pull their weight.”


    Although India is the 11th largest economy in the world a new report suggests that unemployment is running at nine per cent, forcing millions of families into poverty.

    However, in most of Asia including India, official unemployment benefit along with pensions and sick pay is non-existent. At best workers can expect a small payment when they are laid off but they are then left to fend for themselves or seek support from their families.

    As an alternative to a benefits system villagers have been given free fishing nets or saplings so they can make wood products. In rural areas the unemployed are guaranteed labour for 100 days, building dams, flood defences and roads, in return for the minimum wage of £1.40 a day.

    The Rozgar Yojana scheme, named after a former prime minister, set about creating a new generation of entrepreneurs from the ranks of the unemployed. Educated young men and women who lost their jobs were offered loans to found businesses which are credited with creating one billion work days since the project was launched in the mid-Nineties.


    According to Forbes Magazine the Danes enjoy the world’s most generous unemployment benefits system. Although there are caps for very high earners, should the axe fall most workers are guaranteed up to 90 per cent of their last salary. Workers pay an eight per cent tax to the government to help fund such programmes, on top of high taxes which include a 50 per cent top rate income tax.

    However even Denmark, where unemployment is standing at just over four per cent, is feeling the pinch. The out-of-work must now accept either a job offer or a place on a training programme if they are to keep their dole, while the maximum benefit payment period has been cut to two years from four. It was once five years.

    Each year a remarkable 30 per cent of Danes change jobs, knowing that the system will allow them to pay rent and buy food while they look for a better position. It is claimed many wait until the last minute before benefits expire before suddenly finding that elusive new job.


    Its jobseekers’ allowance system is similar to our own but payments are more generous. The maximum weekly hand-out for an adult is £163 but it is predicted there will be savage cuts as the government makes savings. The unemployment rate in Ireland is running at more than 13 per cent, compared with under eight per cent in Britain, and the overall economy is in tatters.


    Germany has a two-tier unemployment benefit system, paid for by taxes levied on workers as well as employers.

    Unemployment insurance totalling 60 per cent of last salary is paid for a maximum of six months but can be extended for older people. After six months unemployed workers can apply for means-tested assistance which is indefinite but pays a smaller sum.

    Although initially generous the system is aimed at forcing people to find work. Germans who refuse the offer of “a suitable job” can lose their payment for 12 weeks.

    Repeated refusals can lead to the benefi t being refused altogether.


    Benefits are provided for between 90 and 150 days, depending on age and the amount of insurance premiums paid into the state-run unemployment system but this can jump to 330 days if the worker’s industry is in recession.

    Japan’s unemployment benefit is a complex calculation of previous income, time spent in the workforce and age but amounts to about 67 per cent of last salary. The system requires workers to pay premiums equal to 0.6 per cent of their monthly wages into the national treasury, with their employers matching the amount.

    In Japan unemployed workers must attend meetings at job centres called Hello Work.


    Unemployment was not officially recognised in China until 1999 and now the cost of benefits is shared by businesses, which contribute two per cent of their payroll to an unemployment fund, and workers who have one per cent of their wages deducted.

    Irrespective of previous earnings the unemployed qualify for a flat rate set by their local authority but the precise amount depends on length of employment.

    The amounts are low, typically less than £20 a month for a single man. For long-serving employees who lose their jobs benefi ts can be received for up to two years but they can be terminated if a job offered by the local authority is then refused.


    Most countries with schemes based on previous salaries set caps but France’s top earners can receive more than £6,000 a month in unemployment benefit. Rates of benefit in France are up to 75 per cent of the last salary.

    Benefit payments can last for as long as three years and sometimes longer for people who are nearing retirement. To qualify you must be actively seeking a new job and have been working for at least six months in the past 22.

    Other jobless benefits include generous housing subsidies and help with energy bills and even food shopping costs. Proposals to solve the French benefits crisis have included cutting hand-outs for those who turn down jobs and offering a £800 bonus to those who return to work within a year.


    The Express

    November 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

    • American workers cast a disbelieving eye on the generous benefits paid to their unemployed British counterparts.

      Wtf? We are amongst the lowest in the top economies.

      Unemployed single adults are eligible for benefits of £141.50 a week under the Newstart programme but they must agree to enrol on training courses.

      Don’t tell any Flexible New Deal peeps (especially those on a Mandatory Work Related Activity period) about this!!

      Work Programme

      November 14, 2010 at 10:52 am

  21. Google Dog

    November 15, 2010 at 9:42 am

  22. http://www.infomunca.ro – very good job portal from Romania

    Cristian Doru

    November 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm

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