Work-related requirements

The rules for work-related requirements are set out in the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Categories of work-related requirements

Section 15 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and regulation 93 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out what activities are included in, and the purpose of, a work focused interview.

Section 16 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out what activities are included in work preparation.

Section 17 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out what activities are included in work search.

Section 18 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out what activities are included in work availability.

Who is subject to which work-related requirements

Section 19 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and regulations 89 and 90 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out who has no work-related requirements.

Section 20 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 and regulation 91 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out who is required to attend work-focused interviews only.

Section 21 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets who is required to attend work-focused interviews and undertake work preparation.

Section 22 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012

Sets out who is subject to all work-related requirements and when the Secretary of State must impose a work search and work availability requirement.

Compliance with work search requirements

Regulation 94 of SI.No.376/2013

Provides that you may be treated as not having complied with a work search requirement if you fail to attend an interview.

Regulation 95 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out what constitutes ‘all reasonable action’ to obtain paid work.

Regulation 96 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out when you may be treated as having complied with a work availability requirement despite not being able to take up work immediately.

Expected hours

Regulation 88 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the circumstances in which your ‘expected hours’ (for the purposes of adapting the work-related requirements or deciding if you earn enough to have no work-related requirements – regulations 90, 95 and 97 of SI.No.376/2013) may be less than 35.

Adaptations to work search and work availability

Regulation 97 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out when adaptations may be made to the amount or level of work search or work availability that is expected of you.

Lifting work-related requirements

Regulations 98 and 99 of SI.No.376/2013

Set out circumstances when your work-related requirements may be lifted for a period of time.

Pilot scheme to impose work-related requirements on claimants in paid work

Regulations 4 to 7 of SI.No.89/2015

Provide for a pilot scheme to test the imposition of work-related requirements on universal credit claimants in paid work whose requirements would otherwise be suspended by virtue of regulation 99(6) of SI.No.376/2013. Period of pilot scheme extended by SI.No.168/2018, SI.No.249/2019 and SI.No152/2020

In Northern Ireland, the Welfare Reform (Northern Ireland) Order 2015 together with SR.No.216/2016 make provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision-making

Chapter J2

Sets out who meets the criteria for each work-related group and provides examples.

Advice for decision-making

Chapter J3

Sets out what you may be required to do to comply with the different work-related requirements, and provides more information and examples on reducing your expected hours and when your expected work-related requirements might be adapted or stopped.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

No work-related requirements regime

Sets out which claimants are not expected to undertake any work-related requirements.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Work focused interview regime​

​Sets out which claimants are in the work-focused interview only regime and what the interviews might include.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

​Work preparation regime

​Sets out which claimant are expected to undertake work-related activity and the framework for meetings with the work coach.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Work preparation activities

Sets out what can be included as work-related activities.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Work search activities

​Sets out what can be included as work search activities.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Availability for work​

Sets out what limitations a claimant can put on their availability for work.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Work-related requirements for claimants with children

​Sets out how work-related requirements may be tailored for those with responsibility for children.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Work-related requirements and ongoing contact in the health journey

Sets out how work-related requirements may be tailored for those awaiting a work capability assessment and for ongoing contact afterwards.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Switching off requirements (easements) for Labour Market regime interventions

​Sets out when switching off requirements is compulsory or discretionary and the duration of the easement.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Switching off work availability and work-related activities

Provides further information on switching off work availability and work-related activities in specific circumstances.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Homeless or at risk of homelessness

​Sets out who should be considered homeless or at risk of homelessness and how that affects their work search and work availability requirements including when they should be switched off.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

Upper Tribunal

[2017] UKUT 459 (AAC)

Consideration must be given as to whether the 35 hour work search requirement should be reduced or lifted.

Upper Tribunal

[2017] UKUT 477 (AAC)

‘Good cause’ case law applies to consideration of ‘good reason’ / ignorance of law is capable of founding ‘good reason’ for failure to carry out work-related requirement.