This petition was submitted during the 2010–2015 Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition government

Petition Petition to Abolish Work for your Benefit/Workfare Schemes in the UK

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We want to abolish work for your benefit/workfare schemes in the UK.

People selling their labour should be fairly remunerated for their work at the normal level paid for the tasks they perform and treated in the same way as a standard employee with full rights and representation if requested.

These are the basic rights of any worker in a modern democratic society.

Workfare is effectively forced labour and is therefore illegal in the UK.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

10,313 signatures


Government responded

This response was given on 9 September 2012

As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:

We do not have Work for Your Benefit or Workfare schemes in this country. Workfare is an American term used to describe employment programmes which force all jobseekers to work at a certain point of their claim in order to continue to receive benefit.

We do offer claimants a range of initiatives at various stages of their unemployment to help them overcome the barriers they face in returning to the workplace, or indeed finding work for the first time, such as a short period of voluntary work experience for young people aged 18-24 who have little or no experience of work to help them gain vital work-related skills, and referral to the Work Programme for a period of intensive support for those who have been out of work for nine months or more.

Mandatory Work Activity gives extra support to a small number of Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants who would benefit from a short period of activity. It is a work placement of up to 30 hours a week for four weeks that must be of community benefit.

Mandatory Work Activity helps participants re-engage with the system, refocus their job search and gain valuable work-related disciplines, such as attending on time and regularly, carrying out specific tasks and working under supervision. Whilst participating in Mandatory Work Activity, claimants continue to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance and are expected to continue to seek work.

The Government is clear that it will do all it can to support unemployed people, but it also clear that in return they must do all they can to help themselves back to work.

This e-petition will remain open to signatures until the published closing date and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.