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Welfare Reform Act 2009

Section 33: Attendance in connection with jobseeker’s allowance: sanctions

177.This section amends section 8 of the Jobseekers Act 1995. Section 8 allows regulations to be made providing for entitlement to jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) to cease for between one and five days if the claimant fails to attend a mandatory interview and subsequently makes contact with Jobcentre Plus within a prescribed period of the date of the mandatory interview without showing good cause for the failure to attend. Regulations set out that the prescribed period is five working days.

178.This new provision will mean that in the above circumstances, JSA entitlement will continue but will not be payable for a fixed period of at least one week and not more than two weeks .

179.In addition, regulations will provide that if a person fails to attend a mandatory interview for the second or subsequent time, a fixed sanction of two weeks will be applied whilst keeping the claim open.

180.If the person makes contact with Jobcentre Plus within the prescribed period of five working days and shows good cause in both circumstances, a sanction would not be imposed.

181.Example: If Mavis Jones fails to attend a mandatory interview on Monday and attends the Jobcentre Plus office on Wednesday of the same week but fails to demonstrate good cause for failing to attend, a sanction of the loss of a week’s JSA would be imposed but Mavis’s claim will remain open. If she fails to attend a mandatory interview for the second time in respect of the same claim and cannot show good cause, she would lose two weeks’ JSA but her claim would remain open.

182.The usual appeal rules apply for both cases.

183.This section also amends section 8 of the 1995 Act to allow regulations to provide that if the claimant fails to make contact with Jobcentre Plus within the prescribed period of five working days from the failure to attend, his or her claim would be closed.

184.Example: If John Smith fails to attend a mandatory interview on Tuesday and makes contact with Jobcentre Plus on Wednesday the following week, his claim will be closed.

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