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Disputed Job Seeker's Agreement


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I signed off a while back as I found some temporary work. I had my interview today regarding signing back on and while I was expecting it to be problematic, I wasn't expecting it to be as bad as this.

 

There were three changes to my job seeker's agreement that I disagreed with:

 

1. On my old agreement I had Saturday down as a non-working day due to other commitments. I'm now being told that I have to work on a Saturday. I was told the only valid reasons for not working on a Saturday are if you have children to take care of, or if you have a health problem that somehow prevents you from working on a specific day of the week.

 

As it wasn't mentioned, I asked what would happen if somebody had a religion that meant they wouldn't be allowed to work on a certain day of the week. I was told that they would have to work on that day!

 

2. 'I will apply for every job I am capable of doing within 90 minutes by public transport.' was entered.

 

I asked what would happen if on one particular week I had applied for over 100 jobs and they happened to find one I hadn't applied for. 'You would be sanctioned' was the reply.

 

Needless to say I can't possibly agree to this as it's designed purely to sanction me and the odds of me overlooking at least one job are very high.

 

3. 'I will create an account on Universal Jobmatch and upload my C.V. by my next appointment' was entered.

 

'I don't consent to the use of tracking cookies' I said. 'What does that matter?' was the reply. I told them that there is an EU law which states that you cannot force someone to accept tracking cookies, the UK is in the EU, so the law applies. They told me I could use their PCs or the ones in the local library. I told them I had privacy concerns about entering my data into a public computer.

 

The new agreement actually has less stuff on it. According to my old one I have to apply for 12 jobs a week, whereas this according to this one I only have to apply for five. A whole host of other tasks have been removed as well. Whereas before I was doing around 30 things a week, the new one only has me going on UJ 7 days a week and applying for five jobs in written form.

 

The advisor wouldn't allow me to keep my old agreement and insisted that I sign the new one. I told him that I couldn't possibly agree to something that was designed to sanction me and I didn't consent to the use of tracking cookies. He ended up sending off my old agreement and his new one as a disputed job seeker's agreement, for a decision maker to decide which one is better. I've been told that I sign on as normal in two weeks time and that I will be informed of the decision maker's decision via post. I'm sure I know what the decision will be...

 

I have some questions:

 

1. What happens regarding my benefits during this period? Will I receive nothing until I sign a new agreement? If I sign a new agreement will I receive the money I should have received during the period where the agreement wasn't signed?

 

2. Am I correct in assuming that I stick to my old agreement? The advisor I saw today told me two conflicting pieces of information. 'You don't have a job seeker's agreement until you sign a new one. Once you close a claim your agreement is void' and 'Until you sign a new agreement your old one remains in place'. When I pointed out that he'd contradicted himself and I asked for clarification on which of the two was correct, he refused to answer my question.

 

3. What happens if the decision maker decides to stick with his one? I see little point in signing something that will get me sanctioned whenever they decide they want to sanction me.

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Hi,

Have you read the post below "Jobseekers Allowance and decision makers" posted by Haggis?

It shows that allowing DWP access to your Universal Jobmatch account and daily signing in agreed in Jobseekers Agreement is not a good combination.

Safe to create an account but even if they give you a letter to mandate you to allow them access to your account, you don't do that because by law you don't have to.

Do not tick the box in your account to allow them access and to allow them to email you.

You get no money until you have a signed Jobseekers Agreement. The old one seized to be valid on the day you signed off.

They have to take into consideration religious practices and requirements. The decision maker should have your written reasons and request why you do not want to work on a Saturday.

Your new agreement is what everyone gets so it is fine. It is not the JCP who gets you the job interviews so don't worry about the Saturdays.

Even if you get a reply from McDonalds that they happy to take you to do crazy shifts, incl Saturday, how will the JCP know that McDonalds invited you for a job interview? It goes to your email account.

They will have 2 mins to check your job search when you sign on fortnightly but two full weeks to find fault with it if you allow them access to your account.

Cover the weekly number of actions and websites agreed, list the evidence in your paper job search and you will be fine.

If they are allowed to email you, they may email you hundreds of jobs to apply for. No, thank you.

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They will have 2 mins to check your job search when you sign on fortnightly but two full weeks to find fault with it if you allow them access to your account.

 

..plus another 2 weeks after that to find fault as they're allowed to hold your jobsearch records for a maximum of 4 weeks, per their own guidance. If there is a labour market doubt on your claim they can hold it for quite a bit longer.

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1. On my old agreement I had Saturday down as a non-working day due to other commitments. I'm now being told that I have to work on a Saturday.

 

2. 'I will apply for every job I am capable of doing within 90 minutes by public transport.' was entered.

 

3. 'I will create an account on Universal Jobmatch and upload my C.V. by my next appointment' was entered.

 

1) You are required to be available and actively seeking work for 40 hours per week plus travel time - If you have stated that you are available from 08:00-20:00 Mon-Fri, this fulfills the requirement - It may be that public transport does not run on a Sunday and the Saturday service is limited, or as you have stated, there are other commitments at the weekend.

 

To expect someone to work on a day that their religion regards as a "rest day" would most likely fall foul of race laws.

 

One final point, I believe E.U. work time directives require at least one rest day in every fourteen.

 

2) To apply for every job listed within a 90 min travel time is unreasonable - As you pointed out, you may not see all vacancies advertised. For example, if I search UJM for jobs in my area, it will turn up postings over 200 miles away. I wouldn't be surprised if someone in Bradford is advertising vacancies here - These probably wouldn't show up on a "within 25 miles of here" search...

 

3) Unfortunately, the "create a UJM account and upload a CV" is standard fare now and is one point that would be difficult to contest. Not having your own PC and/or internet connection would require either a local library or a JCP Internet Access Device - Neither are available seven days a week and time would be restricted. Many of the small libraries round here are only open five days a week and limit computer usage to one hour sessions (if they are working at all).

 

A couple of tips: Disable cookies on your own computer and print out a screenshot of the error page when you try to access the UJM site. Should confuse most advisers for a while.

 

Create a basic CV with the minimum of personal information and convert the text to an image, save this as a PDF to be uploaded - The system will not be able to scan the document for key words, but you will have complied with the spirit of the direction. Note: You do not have to include age, D.o.B., sex, religion, or employment history beyond five years. Education need only include an overview of main qualifications, but not the grades or school (some would say that this is not necessary if you are over a certain age).

 

As for the validity of your old JSAg, if you have completed a rapid reclaim, then the old one should still be valid. If you have done a new claim not linked to your previous one, then JSA would not be payable until you sign a new JSAg.

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  • 2 weeks later...
1) You are required to be available and actively seeking work for 40 hours per week plus travel time - If you have stated that you are available from 08:00-20:00 Mon-Fri, this fulfills the requirement - It may be that public transport does not run on a Sunday and the Saturday service is limited, or as you have stated, there are other commitments at the weekend.

Indeed. He put down that I was seeking work for '84 hours a week' at first. I had to argue with him for quite a while regarding the 40 hour a week law and that if I wanted to work longer than that it was my decision and not his. Eventually he backed down and switched it to 40, but didn't change the start or end times. I can't even make the proposed Sunday start time due to lack of public transport.

 

2) To apply for every job listed within a 90 min travel time is unreasonable - As you pointed out, you may not see all vacancies advertised. For example, if I search UJM for jobs in my area, it will turn up postings over 200 miles away. I wouldn't be surprised if someone in Bradford is advertising vacancies here - These probably wouldn't show up on a "within 25 miles of here" search...
I saw their document today and the wording says 'I will apply for ANY job I can capable of doing'. He had changed the wording in order to try and screw me over.

 

3) Unfortunately, the "create a UJM account and upload a CV" is standard fare now and is one point that would be difficult to contest.
I disagree. Their regulations state that they cannot mandate someone to create a UJ account via a jobseeker's agreement. They need to issue a jobseeker's direction to do this. Creating a UJ account is not a prerequisite of claiming JSA.

 

I was told today that if the decision maker decides that their agreement is better then they will continue to make me sign it. I see little point in doing so as they will just sanction me every week if I overlook even one vacancy.

 

From what I gather DWP like to drag these things out for years. If it does go in their favour would I be entitled to any money while this is being resolved? I will end up homeless if I don't have any money coming in.

 

A thought of mine is that I could close my claim and then do another rapid reclaim in the hope that I would get a more reasonable adviser. Would they propose another agreement or would they continue to force the one I had originally disputed?

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84 hours a week? That adviser is a p*sstaker. They know the customer will know it's bullsh*t yet to give you us much pain as possible..

 

They have to work. You not working, you do not have to get up in the morning to get ready for work and then sit there 8 hrs in an office so payback time: we suffer, you shall suffer too.

 

My way of interpreting the nuisance we get.

 

How can you find a job that provide you 84 hrs pw? It is double the normal 40 hrs pw and certainly illegal to make an employee work this many hours.

 

Next time just call the manager everyone immediately the adviser has a crazy proposition.

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Bumping this as it's on the second page and I have two unanswered questions, which I'm posting again below:

 

From what I gather DWP like to drag these things out for years. If it does go in their favour would I be entitled to any money while this is being resolved? I will end up homeless if I don't have any money coming in.

 

A thought of mine is that I could close my claim and then do another rapid reclaim in the hope that I would get a more reasonable adviser. Would they propose another agreement or would they continue to force the one I had originally disputed?

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From what I gather DWP like to drag these things out for years. If it does go in their favour would I be entitled to any money while this is being resolved? I will end up homeless if I don't have any money coming in.

 

It all hinges on whether your old JSAg still counts as a valid agreement. If it does, then you should receive regular JSA payments. Even if the DWP don't pay you any JSA, you can still submit a "nil income" declaration to the council for your CT/HB - You'd still need to find some money from somewhere to cover basics though.

 

Have you had any JSA payments yet ?

 

A thought of mine is that I could close my claim and then do another rapid reclaim in the hope that I would get a more reasonable adviser. Would they propose another agreement or would they continue to force the one I had originally disputed?

 

That would have to be a risk only you can decide upon - The best you can hope for is a more reasonable adviser, although you could end up with one with a real big chip on his shoulder and force an even more onerous agreement on you.

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I can't help. But wish you and everyone else who has to go through this pantomime all the very best.

Out of interest, is the JSA a one way street? If I was desperately seeking work and didn't see a vacancy but the JC did, then I would want the JC to notify me in good time so I could apply for it. Can that be added to a JSA? Indeed, does the agreement include what the JC does for you to find work?

After all, they work for you. *cough* *splutter* *cough*

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If I was desperately seeking work and didn't see a vacancy but the JC did, then I would want the JC to notify me in good time so I could apply for it.

 

That is just what the UJM is designed to do - A JCP adviser gets notified of a vacancy that matches your profile (and countless others) and emails a note to you via the UJM spamming menu available to DWP staff. Failure to apply for this vacancy, even if it is unsuitable, could result in a sanction.

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My money has been stopped as, according to an advisor at JCP, I don't have a valid job seeker's agreement. From the information I've been able to gather this is untrue and my former agreement is still valid.

 

From the Labour Market Conditions Guide, chapter 4 - Jobseeker's agreement: - nationalarchives.gov.uk/ERORecords/LAB/120/494/P2/

 

16 A JSAg remains in effect:

 

b if an award of JSA comes to an end, provided a further claim for JSA is made within 14 days.

 

Also, taken from The Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1996 - dwp.gov.uk/docs/a11-4001.pdf

 

36. A jobseeker’s agreement entered into by a claimant shall not cease to have

effect on the coming to an end of an award of a jobseeker’s allowance made to him–

(a) where a further claim for a jobseeker’s allowance is made within a period not

exceeding 14 days

 

Are either of these documents still valid? I'm not sure about the first one but my research into later amendments of The Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1996 seem to leave the section regarding the agreement untouched. I only signed off for 5 days, therefore my former agreement is still valid. Correct?

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Signing a new contract would invalidate the old one.

 

Sounds like you refused to sign the new one [you asked it to be referred to DM].

 

Ask them in writing to reconsider their decision. Print out the relevant legislation as evidence to attach to the letter.

 

Give the reasoning you give above and ask them to reinstate your JSA payments with immediate effect.

 

Number all pages incl evidence: 1/7, 2/7, 3/7... [ie if it is seven pages altogether]. Include their disallowance letter [to show your NI number, etc] or just refer to the date & decision made.

 

"I keep a copy of this letter and retain proof of posting."

 

Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 2013 is another off spring of the mother act [Jobseekers Act 1995].

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Because DWP sends us letters 2nd class you normally notice suspension of payments before you get the notification letter.

It shall follow shortly. As you will know, your NI number is your reference number to quote in all correspondence.

 

In the meantime, on one of the free phones in the JCP I would call the BDC to see if there is going to be a formal disallowance letter [to reply to] or they are just waiting for the DM to make a decision and then suspension will be lifted.

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Signing a new contract would invalidate the old one.

 

Sounds like you refused to sign the new one [you asked it to be referred to DM].

 

Ask them in writing to reconsider their decision. Print out the relevant legislation as evidence to attach to the letter.

 

Give the reasoning you give above and ask them to reinstate your JSA payments with immediate effect.

 

Number all pages incl evidence: 1/7, 2/7, 3/7... [ie if it is seven pages altogether]. Include their disallowance letter [to show your NI number, etc] or just refer to the date & decision made.

 

"I keep a copy of this letter and retain proof of posting."

Thank you.

 

Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 2013 is another off spring of the mother act [Jobseekers Act 1995].
This is something I have been confused about in my research. I noticed that the 2013 one cites that it is making changes to the 1995 act. The '95 and '96 acts are the only ones which mention the rules regarding job seeker's agreements. In the 1995 one it says:

 

Except in such circumstances as may be prescribed, a job seeker's agreement entered into by a claimant shall cease to have effect on the coming to an end of the award of a jobseeker's allowance made to him.

 

I have no idea what the "circumstances as may be prescribed" are. But which act takes precedence? One would assume '96 as it was drafted after. But as the 2013 act references the 2005 act and doesn't mention the '96 act, this makes me wonder if the '96 act has been scrapped and the '95 act trumps it.

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I have no idea what the "circumstances as may be prescribed" are. But which act takes precedence? One would assume '96 as it was drafted after. But as the 2013 act references the 2005 act and doesn't mention the '96 act, this makes me wonder if the '96 act has been scrapped and the '95 act trumps it.

 

Nope. The Jobseekers Act 1995 is still valid but should be read in conjunction with Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1996 and the various updates and instruments issued since. As you've probably noticed, it is confusing and long winded.... The definitive guide to the rules and regulations should be the Decision Makers' Guides and accompanying memos which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decision-makers-guide-staff-guide,

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