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No Sanctions for Work Experience

Chris Grayling has backed down in the debate around sanctioning young people who leave their work experience placement early.

Following a meeting with major employers today, Chris Grayling has finally taken on board the criticism about sanctions. He stated after today's meeting that:

The employers said to us: 'We would like to modify it. At the moment you have a got a situation where people can leave voluntarily after the first week. We would like to be able to sit down later in a work placement if it is not working and say we want to opt out."

"We thought that was reasonable so we said fine and we will accept that." 

Up to now young people could volunteer to take part in work experience, but if they dropped out after a week they could find themselves subject to benefit sanctions, possibly losing two weeks Jobseeker's Allowance.  The government have been keen to stress that the number of sanctions have been very low and that most young people complete the work experience and many move into work or off benefits as a result.

The back down comes after a huge amount of pressure in the last few weeks from activists and a media frenzy that has caused a great deal of confusion.  This is unlikely to stop the critics who still proclaim such a programme is "slave labour", and it won't stop sanction action being taken in cases of gross misconduct or other behaviour from work experience participants.  This move will however be heralded as a victory in some camps, but it's unlikely to be the end game.


29 February 2012


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