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BACK TO WORK SCHEMES: Back to the drawing board

29 March 2013  

Alicia Oddy looks at the Court of Appeal’s recent judgment on the lawfulness of schemes that put jobseekers on unpaid work placements

Aimed at helping jobseekers gain valuable skills and return to the workplace, Back to Work schemes have been in place for a number of years and are the government’s main method for assisting jobseekers. Over the years, the schemes have been subject to criticism, with opinions differing on how beneficial they really are. The most common complaint from individuals on the schemes is that they effectively constitute forced labour, as jobseekers are placed into a working environment to carry out placements for no wage, which many of them consider to be a breach of their human rights. In addition, if a jobseeker who has agreed to a placement then refuses to complete it, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has the power to issue sanctions and refuse to pay out benefits.

Last modified on 15 January 2016