Department for Work and Pensions
Thousands of parents to benefit from more work coach support
From today (24 July 2023), parents of children aged 1 and 2 on Universal Credit will start to benefit from meeting more frequently with work coaches to help them prepare for work.
- From today, parents of children aged one and two will start to have more face-to-face employment support
- Extra support builds on efforts to reduce inactivity with a more generous childcare offer through Universal Credit
- Statistics show that full-time work substantially reduces the chances of poverty and since 2010, the Government has helped 400,000 children out of absolute poverty
The appointments include exploring steps to improve their skills, identifying support needs, learning about childcare provision, and boosting their confidence.
The meetings increase the opportunity to engage and encourage claimants to think about a job in the future, consider the steps they can take and secure jobs when their child is older.
Parents with a one-year-old will start to have a work-focused meeting with their work coach every three months instead of the current every six months. Parents with a two-year-old meanwhile will start meeting with their work coach every month instead of the current every three months.
Claimants will be told of the change at their next scheduled appointment with their work coach.
Minister for Employment, Guy Opperman MP, said:
From today, thousands of parents of young children will start to meet their dedicated work coaches on a more regular basis.
This extra support will help those on low incomes to think about and prepare for work while their child is young.
We’ve already taken steps to support families by increasing the amount of help through Universal Credit and providing upfront childcare costs.
Today’s change is the latest example of how this Government is putting families first.
Helping parents return to work is part of the Government’s continued efforts to drive down economic inactivity and get Britain working as we grow our economy.
Today’s announcement builds on support announced in June to boost childcare payments through Universal Credit by 47% and ensures working parents can get upfront childcare costs paid for.
Parents can now receive up to 85% of childcare costs back before their next month’s bills are due – meaning they should have money to pay one month in advance going forward.
This is part of the largest expansion in free childcare in history by the Government, worth £6,500 a year for an average working family using 30 hours a week.
One person to already benefit from the boosted childcare offer is mum of three, Victoria from the South West. Thanks to the increased childcare support via Universal Credit, she was recently able to accept her dream job as a teaching assistant in a special needs school.
Victoria – who previously worked part-time – was worried that she wouldn’t be able to claim more hours of free childcare, but after contacting her local Jobcentre, she learnt of Universal Credit’s updated assistance.
She said: “I love my new job and being able to claim 85 per cent of the childcare costs back will make such a difference to my family.”
In the Autumn, the Department for Work and Pensions will also increase the maximum work-related activity and work availability expected of parents of children aged three to twelve to up to 30 hours. This will be tailored to a parent’s individual circumstances, including the availability of local childcare.
Today’s change and the change planned for the Autumn are expected to support over 700,000 parents who have the main responsibility of looking after their children.
- In March the Chancellor announced that we are expanding work search requirements for parents of young children and the changes are expected to encourage over 700,000 lead carers of children on Universal Credit to look for work or increase their hours and will receive additional work coach support to do so. The first of the two measures will come into force from today.
- The change in frequency of appointments for those who look after children aged one and two impacts Universal Credit claimants who have the main caring responsibilities for these children. This could be a parent, grandparent, kinship carer, adoptive parent, or other guardian dependent on their individual family circumstances. As such, DWP refers to them as lead carers to reflect the full range of childcare arrangements. Where there is a lone parent, they will always be listed as the lead carer. For couples on Universal Credit, individuals can identify who is the lead carer.
- The second measure which comes into force in later in the year will see an increase in the work-related activity hours expected of parents of children aged three to twelve. This means any lead carer who is suitable for having their work-related activity hours increased can be expected to increase their work search and preparation activity and be required to be available for work up to 30 hours. The requirements will be tailored to claimants’ circumstances.
- Helping parents return to work is part of the Government’s continued efforts to drive down economic inactivity and get Britain working with £3.5 billion already invested to-date.
- In addition to the DWP’s childcare support via Universal Credit, the hourly rates paid to providers to deliver the Government’s free childcare offer for two-year olds will increase by 30% in September, up to an average rate of £8.
- And from April 2024, there will be 15 free hours childcare available for working main carers of two-year-olds, followed by 15 free hours from nine months in September 2024, and finally 30 free hours from nine months to the start of school from September 2025.
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