How to Avoid Workfare

May 10, 2013

How To Avoid Workfare Inline

Know your rights – Work Programme

You do not not have to sign any provider documents!

Find out if your “work experience” is mandatory or not.

Fact: Not all ‘work experience’ on the Work Programme is mandatory.

Fact: The only personal data you need to share with a Work Programme provider (such as A4e) is your referral letter and signing on book – See

Fact: You don’t have to sign any Work Programme provider documents or forms.

Fact: Your CV is personal data and you don’t have to give them a copy to keep.

Fact: A written Mandatory Activity Notification must be given if they want to make anything sanctionable or to keep or see personal info they do not already hold.

Fact: The Job Centre can postpone starting the Work Programme for 90 days if you have a job interview, or are expecting to work soon.

Fact: If you are on another Job Centre scheme, pregnant or a survivor of domestic violence you do not have to do the Work Programme.

See and for more info on the Work Programme.

Don’t volunteer for “Work Experience” or the “Sector Based Work Academy”!

• Do not agree to volunteer for the Sector Based Work Academy: You will be sanctioned if you try to leave the scheme.

• Many people are given the impression that they must do the Work Experience scheme or face sanctions. This is not the case: you do not have to agree to do it and you can leave without facing direct sanctions.

• However, leaving the Work Experience scheme can be used as an excuse to force you to do Mandatory Work Activity (MWA). Beware that if you don’t have recent work experience, and do not consider volunteering or the Work Experience scheme, you may be referred to MWA.

Mandatory Work Activity: check and challenge your eligibility

We have seen people referred for this just because they have challenged their advisor. But there are strict DWP guidelines on who should be sent on MWA, which you can use to challenge referral. You do not have to go on this scheme if:

• you are currently working (paid or voluntary)

• you are undertaking employment related study or training

• you are taking part in, or recently completed, another “employment measure”

• the only reason given is your advisor thinks you haven’t been meeting your jobseeker’s agreement

Downloadable Formats



Even if you’re already on workfare stay updated and informed at the Boycott Workfare Website

Boycott Workfare | @Boycottworkfare


  • JSA

    So George Osborne thinks that people on Jobseeker’s Allowance should have to “earn” their benefits by cleaning up litter and the like?

    What he fails to mention is that private sector companies like SEETEC will be paid up to £800 for each person partaking in this new scheme.

    If the Chancellor truly wants to help find unemployed people work, then might I suggest giving them a job and using the £800 to pay them a liveable wage. This would actually have the effect of reducing the cost to the taxpayer, instead of spending millions more with little, if any, reduction in the numbers claiming unemployment benefits.

  • paul hinkley

    I would like for you to help me in contacting the right people for advice. I am a single father of a nine year old boy and my jsa agreement to look for work in school hours which is impossible for the area I live as there is not much work I use various job sites and UJM and asking and walking to shops ect My problem is I do the required search but have now been told by workfare I have to do smart targets action plan on what I do on my search and things which will enhance me to gain employment and do 8 things every month and if this is unsucessful I have to rethink different ideas if I do not do this or if it is not satisfactory, the work programme will refer me to the job centre saying I am not doing everything possible to gain work In my JSA agreement this was not agreed upon This will only get harder to fulfil their expectations resulting in a sanction. Where I live there will be only a certain amount of jobs to apply for, for the responsibilities I have in caring for my son on my own, the job will have to be after I drop him off at 9 am and making my way to work on public transport then leaving work providing myself with enough time to pick him up at 3.30pm as I have said there will be only a number of jobs suitable for me to apply for so how forcing me to do this at workfare will lead to failure. Also with the six week holiday arriving there was talk that I will have to take my son twice a week with me to workfare I would like to know if this is mandatory to be filling out forms explaining my actions thank you Paul Hinkley

  • mohammed qasim

    I have just had a letter saying i have a mandatory work program for four weeks dont no what to do.

  • Been told that I will be getting sent on a 4 week “mandatory””work experience”.They have had me signing on every day for over 3 months,in which time I have done everything asked of me,applying for jobs every day but not even getting any replies.My “advisor”says because I have had no interviews then she needs to have a meeting with her manager which she says in her own words “I know what she will say and thats that you will go on this 4 week work thing.”She says it will be in a recycling plant about 20-30 miles from where I live and that it will be within one and a half hours travelling time by bus so I have no say in the matter.The fact is that not 1 place of work in my home city of Liverpool has signed up to take anyone on these slave labour schemes speaks volumes that only a scab firm that far away from home will tolerate it.I challenge that I will not be able to guarantee to get to this place for 8a.m but she says that people from the benefit office I attend have been there before but I have heard stories that if you are late once or are absent then you get sanctioned.Unfair doesn’t even begin to describe this.How can I get out of this legalised slavery?Please help.

Leave a reply