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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Permitted Work

Country of implementation
United Kingdom
General short description of the innovation
The ?permitted work rules? were introduced in April 2002. These rules replaced the much more restrictive and little used ?therapeutic work? provision. The new rules should make it easier for incapacity benefits recipients to try some paid work as a stepping-stone towards leaving benefit for full-time employment. Under the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), the claimants benefits are usually not affected if they work and earn up to 20 a week; work and earn up to 101 a week doing work as part of a treatment programme, or supervised by someone from a local council or voluntary organisation; or work less than 16 hours a week, and earn up to 101 a week for up to 52 weeks. Claimants can also do ?supported permitted work? for less than 16 hours a week and earn up to 101 a week if their illness or disability very severely limits their ability to work. Supported permitted work is supervised by someone from a local council or a voluntary organisation whose job it is to arrange work for disabled people. / / The permitted work rules will continue to apply to ESA following the introduction of Universal Credit.
Target group
Policy Field
  • social
  • wage
Type of Policy
  • public
Scope of innovation
  • Spatial coverage: national
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • flexicurity
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • benefit level
  • regulations of the labour market
Intended target group
Disabled people
Working age population
  • main source of income: social protection (disability benefits)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body
  • central state
Intended output
  • regulation of the labour market
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Early research (Dewson et al. 2004) demonstrated that the rules, for some clients at least, have acted as a stepping stone to employment. Those is therapeutic work were the least likely to move into employment, whereas thos in a permitted work higher limit as well as in supported permitted work were more likely to move into work and away from benefits. / / Sources: / Dewson, S., Davis, S. and Loukas, G. (2004). A stepping-stone to employment? An Evaluation of the Permitted Work Rules ? Wave 2. Insitute for Employment Studies, Brighton.
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