Research Report

Making work pay: implementing Universal Credit

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Making work pay: implementing Universal Credit

Published January 2014

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This report explores the issues around Universal Credit from job seeker, employer and policy-maker perspectives.

Universal Credit, which merges several benefits into one, is being rolled out in phases between April 2013 and December 2017, with a view to ensuring that ‘work always pays’. In theory, Universal Credit will enable a smoother and less fragmented transition into work and off benefits while ensuring people are always better off than they would be on benefits alone.

A key aspect of the Universal Credit is the Claimant Commitment, a document that sets out what claimants who have been judged fit to work have to do to prepare for work or find work. This is the first time that conditionality (what conditions certain individuals have to meet to receive benefits) will extend to claimants who are in employment and not claiming out-of-work benefits. What this ‘in-work conditionality’ will mean in practice is still very vague but is likely to mean people committing to trying to increase their working hours, undertaking training, or taking a second job to increase their earning potential.

The second half of the report explores the extent to which employers can help meet the Government’s policy goals by providing more hours or training for the low paid. The research is designed to help inform policy-makers as they fine-tune their plans on how to implement in-work conditionality and of the scope Universal Credit claimants will have to increase their earning power as they make the transition from benefits to employment.

"Many jobseekers think Jobcentre Plus is more geared towards administering benefits
than improving the employability of jobseekers. There is a perceived lack of co-ordination between
Jobcentre Plus and the available support for people to access training or careers guidance."

Contents of the report

  • Introduction
  • Executive summary
  • Jobseekers’ views on Universal Credit, sustainable employment and in-work progression
  • View from the workplace: opportunities for in-work progression
  • Conclusions
  • Methodology 

View the press release