Universal credit: Work conditions
Universal Credit claimants will be expected to do what they can to establish and maintain an adequate level of earnings. Claimants will be expected to do this by meeting the work-related requirements relevant to the work-related group they have been placed in. Those who are unable to carry out any work-related requirements, for example because they are severely disabled, may be placed in the no work requirements group.
NOTE: This page explains the normal rules work-related requirements. These have been changed during the coronavirus pandemic. Although claimants will still need to accept a claimant commitment when they claim, our understanding is that:
They will not be asked to attend the jobcentre - all requirements to attend the jobcentre in person are suspended unless directed to do so in exceptional circumstances
The only commitment requirement at present is to report changes of circumstances
Those with work search requirements on the claimant commitments should continue to look for work if it is safe to do so, but work coaches will not check if the claimant is meeting their commitments in relation to finding work and they will not get a sanction if they can’t keep to the commitments at this time.
There are four basic types of work related requirement that can be imposed depending on which work condition group (see below) the claimant has been placed in:
- Work-focused interviews: attend periodic interviews to discuss plans and opportunities for returning to work (immediately or in the future).
- Work preparation: actions to prepare for work – such as attending training courses, preparing a CV or taking part in the Work Programme.
- Work search: take all reasonable action and any particular specific actions to find work – such as applying for suggested vacancies or registering with a recruitment agency.
- Work availability: be available and willing to immediately take up work.
Failure to carry out a work-related requirement can result in a reduction of UC and possible sanctions. See further Advice for Decision Makers guidance (ADM) Chapters K1 – K9.
DWP Advice for Decision Making (ADM) Chapter J3 explains in detail what is expected for each requirement.
The requirements that are imposed on any individual will be dependent on their own particular circumstances and what DWP can reasonably expect of them. To do this DWP will assess claimants into one of the following work related groups which will control which of the work related requirements can and cannot be imposed.
Where a person is part of a couple, each member of the couple will have their own requirements. They may be placed into separate groups.
- No work related requirements group:
Claimants in this group will have no requirement to prepare for work or look for work and so will not have any work related requirements imposed on them. Claimants fall into this group either because they meet certain criteria (for example due to their disability or caring responsibilities) or because they meet certain earnings thresholds.
- Work focused interviews group:
Claimants in this group are only expected to stay in touch with the labour market and begin thinking about a move into work, more work, or better paid work.
Work Preparation group:
Claimants in this group are expected to prepare for a move into work, more work or better paid work by, for example, participating in the Work Programme. These claimants are not expected to look for work.
- All work related requirements:
Claimants in this group are expected to look and move into work, more work or better paid work.
DWP Advice for Decision Making (ADM) Chapter J2 explains in detail who falls into each of the groups.
Last reviewed/updated 2 June 2020