Universal Credit warning: Payments may stop if certain rules aren’t followed – check now

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Universal Credit claimants are usually required to make an agreement known as a “claimants commitment” with their work coach. This commitment may require the claimant to do certain activities such as look for jobs or go on training courses.

During the pandemic, these requirements were somewhat eased as the economy was hit by coronavirus.

However, as the economy continues to reopen, claimants may find themselves needing to get back onto their job search(s) to ensure their payments continue.

This is important to note as if a person does not meet their responsibilities or what they’ve agreed in their claimant commitment, their Universal Credit could be stopped or reduced.

This is called a sanction and there are different levels of sanctions which are decided based on what they did and how often.

Where claimants do see their payments stopped, they may still be able to get help to ensure the essentials are covered.

Hardship payments can be applied for if a person cannot pay for rent, heating, food or hygiene needs because they got a sanction.

These hardship payments are repaid through future Universal Credit payments, which will be lower until the debt is fully repaid.

These payment rules may be focused on once again over the coming months as new research highlighted employers are beginning to feel confident about the future.

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According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), employer confidence has surged to a nine year high.

CIPD surveyed more than 2,000 employers covering all the sectors of the economy for their latest Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report.

The survey found that its net employment intentions figure, which measures the difference between the proportion of employers expecting to add jobs and those planning to cut them, has risen for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The figure now sits at +32, up from +27 last quarter, marking the strongest employer intentions seen since tracking began in winter 2012/13.

The survey, which is forward-looking, found recruitment intentions are particularly strong. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of employers plan to recruit in the three months to September 2021, up from 64 percent in the last quarter and 49 percent this time last year.

There has been a dramatic shift in hiring intentions in certain sectors since summer 2020. Just 26 percent of hospitality/arts/entertainment employers were looking to hire last summer, increasing to 72 percent this summer.

In transport and storage, this has increased from 33 percent to 65 percent of employers looking to hire.

Both of these sectors have been impacted by the pandemic and changes to immigration as a result of Brexit, and are suffering from widely reported labour shortages.

When asked how employers with hard-to-fill vacancies will deal with these vacancies, over two fifths (44 percent) said they would upskill existing staff, a quarter (26 percent) said they would hire more apprentices, and 23 percent said they would raise wages.

These tactics suggested employers are focusing their efforts on retaining the current workforce to address labour supply issues, as well as increasing recruitment.

Jonathan Boys, a labour market economist for the CIPD, commented: “This is an incredibly strong set of data and paints a very different picture to employer intentions a year ago. “Employers are very optimistic, indicating strong recruitment intentions and redundancy expectations appear much lower than originally predicted during the pandemic.

“Over the last year, employers have been able to flex the workforce to meet demand by using the furlough scheme to rapidly expand and contract staffing levels at minimal cost

“This will no longer be a viable strategy as the scheme winds down, so we’ll see recruitment and retention pick up the slack as employers look to plug any gaps in their workforce.

“With difficulty finding labour in some sectors, employers will need to think more long-term about how they meet skills needs.

“It’s important for organisations to look carefully at their recruitment and retention strategies and consider where they need to develop these, for example by increasing investment in training and reskilling. Retention strategies should be built with boosting job quality in mind, as employers have a huge role to play in improving working lives.”

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