An impossible bind: requirements to work under Universal Credit

Published on 1 November 2017


The report examines the new job seeking requirements for parents with children aged three and four under Universal Credit (UC) rules. The research looks at this change which when fully rolled out with affect 220,000 parents – with single parents making up 75% of this group.  The research looks at this change, including a case study from the Borough of Camden, and recommendations as to what could be done to mitigate the impact of this change on parents as Universal Credit is rolled out nationally.

Key findings

The findings show that a lack of part-time jobs and suitable childcare will make it difficult for parents with pre-school aged children to move into and sustain work.  This risks this group of parents being exposed to financial sanctions and further poverty.

As a priority, the report calls on the Government to:

  • Suspend job seeking requirements for this group of parents until sufficient childcare and flexible jobs are in place;
  • Design and promote genuine flexible work opportunities including an overhaul of the DWP’s jobsite Universal Jobmatch;
  • Extend eligibility for 30 hours free childcare for parents of 3 and 4 year olds to those in education and training; and
  • Increase publicity about childcare support under UC and register of providers where childcare provision can be combined.