Chapter K1: Sanctions - general principlesContents
|K1001:||Scope of Chapter|
Meaning of sanctionable failure
|K1040:||Meaning of compliance condition|
|K1044:||Treated as having complied|
|K1050:||Meaning of reduction period|
|K1060:||Maximum reduction period|
|K1061:||Meaning of total outstanding reduction period|
|K1075:||Has the claimant failed to comply with a work-related requirement|
|K1076:||Does a reduction apply|
|K1085:||Which sanction level and reduction period applies|
|K1100:||Start of reduction period|
|K1101:||Amount of reduction|
|K1105:||Recoverable hardship payments|
Chapter K1: Sanctions - general principles
K1001 Scope of ChapterThis
1. gives definitions of terms that are used throughout the ADM Chapters on sanctions
2. gives a general introduction on the process to follow when making decisions
on sanctionable failures
3. explains where detailed guidance can be found in other ADM Chapters on
K1005 IntroductionOnce a DM determines that a reduction should apply for a sanctionable failure, the
period is added to the total outstanding reduction period (see K1061) for that
claimant. Reductions are then made to the award of UC based on the number of
days in the total outstanding reduction period. The reduction is calculated by either
1. the number of days in the assessment period (where the total outstanding
reduction period is greater than this number) multiplied by the daily sanction
2. the number of days in the total outstanding reduction period (where the
number of days in the total outstanding reduction period is lower than the
number of days in the assessment period) multiplied by the daily sanction
Note: See ADM Chapter K9 (Amount of reduction) for guidance on the daily sanction
K1006The reduction will then be taken from the award from
1. the first day of the assessment period in which the DM determines that a
reduction should be imposed, or if a reduction is not taken on that date, then
the first day of the new assessment period or
2. if the award is already subject to a reduction, the first day that the award is not
subject to a reduction.
Note: See K1051 and ADM Chapter K8 (When a reduction is to have effect) for
Meaning of sanctionable failure
K1010 IntroductionSanctionable failures can result in a higher, medium, low or lowest-level sanction (1).
In some cases no reduction is applied (2) - see ADM Chapter K3 (Higher-level
sanctions) for further details.
1 UC Regs, reg 101 - 105; 2 reg 113
K1011Where a failure is a sanctionable failure, the claimant's award of UC is normally
reduced. The period and amount of reduction depends on (1)
1. which work-related requirement the claimant failed to comply with and
2. the number of sanctionable failures and
3. the period between failures.
Note: See ADM Chapters K3 (Higher-level sanctions), K4 (Medium-level
sanctions), K5 (Low-level sanctions), K6 (Lowest-level sanctions) and K9 (Amount
of reduction) for further details.
1 WR Act 12, s 26(6) & (7) and 27(4) - (5) & (8)
K1020 Higher-level sanctionsFor higher-level sanctions, a sanctionable failure is where a claimant in the all work-
related requirements group (1)
1. fails for no good reason to comply with a work preparation requirement to
undertake a specified work placement (MWA)2 or
2. fails for no good reason to comply with a work search requirement to apply for
a particular vacancy for paid work (3) or
3. fails for no good reason to comply with a work availability requirement by not
taking up an offer of paid work (4) or
4. by reason of misconduct, or voluntarily and for no good reason, ceases paid
work or loses pay (5).
Note: See ADM Chapter J2 for guidance on work-related requirements groups,
Chapter J3 for guidance on work-related requirements, Chapter K2 for guidance on
good reason, and Chapter K3 (Higher-level sanctions) for guidance on MWA
placements, and voluntarily or through misconduct ceasing paid work.
1 WR Act 12, s 26; UC Regs, reg 100(1); 2 WR Act 12, s 26(2)(a); UC Regs, reg 114
3 WR Act 12, s 26(2)(b); 4 s 26(2)(c); 5 s 26(2)(d)
K1021Where the claimant is
1. in the no work-related requirements group (1) and
2. in work with earnings equal to or more than their individual threshold
a sanctionable failure is where, by reason of misconduct, or voluntarily and for no
good reason, they cease paid work or lose pay and become subject to all work-
related requirements (2).
Note: See ADM Chapter J3 for guidance on work-related requirements, Chapter K2
for guidance on good reason, and Chapter K3 (Higher-level sanctions) for guidance
on voluntarily or through misconduct ceasing paid work.
1 WR Act 12, s 19(2)(d) & (3); UC Regs, reg 90; 2 WR Act 12, s 22
K1022 « K1023Where the claimant is in the all work-related requirements group when they are
awarded UC (1), and commit a sanctionable failure before making that claim, this is
known as a pre-claim failure (2).
Note: See ADM Chapter J3 for guidance on work-related requirements.
1 WR Act 12, s 22; 2 UC Regs, reg 102(5)
K1023Where K1022 applies, a sanctionable failure is where, at any time before the claim
resulting in the award of UC is made, the claimant
1. for no good reason failed to take up an offer of paid work or
2. by reason of misconduct, or voluntarily and for no good reason, ceased paid
work or lost pay (1).
Note: See ADM Chapter K2 for guidance on good reason, and Chapter K3 (Higher-
level sanctions) for guidance on voluntarily or through misconduct ceasing paid
work, and pre-claim failures.
1 WR Act 12, s 26(4)
K1030 Other sanctionsFor medium, low and lowest-level sanctions, a sanctionable failure is a failure by a
claimant with no good reason to comply with (1)
1. a work-focused interview requirement (2)
2. a work preparation requirement (3)
3. a work search requirement (4)
4. a work availability requirement (5)
5. other requirements connected to work-related requirements, such as
attending an interview to impose or verify compliance with a work-related
requirement, or reporting specified changes in circumstances (6).
Note: See ADM Chapter J3 for detailed guidance on work-related requirements,
Chapter K4 for guidance on medium-level sanctions, Chapter K5 for guidance on
low-level sanctions, and Chapter K6 for guidance on lowest-level sanctions.
1 WR Act 12, s 27; UC Regs, reg 100(1); 2 WR Act 12, s 15; 3 s 16; 4 s 17; 5 s 18; 6 s 23
K1040 Meaning of compliance condition « K1041Low and lowest-level sanctions have effect for a period which continues until the
claimant meets a compliance condition. Low-level sanctions also include a further
fixed period (1).
1 WR Act 12, s 27(5); UC Regs, reg 104 & 105
K1041 « K1043In K1040, a compliance condition is the requirement the claimant needs to complete
in order to terminate the period of the reduction (and for low-level sanctions, to start
the fixed period)1. This will usually be the original requirement the claimant failed to
meet, but where this is not appropriate then it will be a suitable alternative
requirement as specified. For example, if a claimant failed to attend a training course
which is no longer running, then the compliance condition could be to require the
claimant to contact the provider to enquire about future courses or to make an
appointment with the adviser to discuss next steps. Also see the guidance at K1044.
1 WR Act 12, s 27(6)
K1042Examples of compliance conditions include
1. meeting the requirement, for example updating a CV or registering with an
2. making an appointment for a WFI or an interview
3. attending the next available skills training course.
Note: This list provides examples only and is not exhaustive.
K1043The claimant is notified of what they must do to meet a compliance condition as in
K1041, including where the compliance condition is revoked or varied (1). The
compliance condition may be included in the claimant commitment at the same time
as the original work-related requirement.
1 WR Act 12, s 26(7)
K1044 Treated as having complied « K1041The open-ended part of a sanction can only be lifted when the claimant meets the
specified compliance condition, i.e. actually undertakes the activity (1). However in
some cases the claimant may be willing but unable to undertake the activity because
of circumstances outside their control. For example they call on Wednesday to make
an appointment but the earliest available appointment is the following Monday. In
such a situation it would be unfair to continue the sanction when the claimant has
done as much as they possibly can to meet the compliance condition. In this
situation they are treated as having complied on the day they agree to undertake the
activity provided they do participate in the activity as required. However if they refuse
the next available appointment the open-ended sanction will continue until they
actually participate in the activity.
Note: The intention is to ensure the sanctions act as an effective deterrent to
discourage claimants from not participating in activities designed to help them find
work and encourage compliance and therefore if a claimant shows a willingness to
re-comply then the open-ended sanction should cease. However this will only apply
where the claimant does comply with the required activity. It is for the DM to consider
each case on it's own merits and circumstances.
1 UC Regs, reg 104(2) & reg 105(2)
Example 1On 24.12.13 Ruhena calls her WP provider to make an appointment to attend an
interview to re-comply with the scheme as she has received a letter from JCP telling
her she is to be sanctioned for an open-ended period as she failed to attend an
interview without good reason and that she will be sanctioned until she re-complies
with the WP scheme. The provider informs Ruhena that the first available
appointment is on Monday 6.1.14 due to the Christmas holiday period. In this case,
provided Ruhena does attend and participate in the interview on 6.1.14, Ruhena has
done everything she can to re-comply and is treated as having re-complied on
24.12.13. The open ended sanction will run until 23.12.13 followed by a 7 day fixed
period sanction as there are no previous sanctionable failures recorded.
Example 2On 6.1.14 Kalim should have attended an appointment with his WP provider. On
10.1.14 he contacts the provider to re-comply and is offered an appointment on
Monday 13.1.14 at 9.30am which he rejects as it is too early in the morning. He says
the afternoon or the next day would be better for him but he cannot say why. The
next available appointment is 15.1.14 at 12 noon which he accepts. In this case he
will not be treated as re-complying until 15.1.14 provided he attends and participates
in the interview. The open-ended sanction will run until 14.1.14.
K1050 Meaning of reduction period « K1091The reduction period is the number of days for which an award of UC is reduced for
each sanctionable failure (1).
1 UC Regs, reg 101(1)
K1051 « K1006The reduction period takes effect from
1. the first day of the assessment period in which the DM determines that a
reduction should be imposed or
2. if the UC award is not reduced as in 1., the first day of the next assessment
3. if the UC award is already subject to a reduction as in 1. or 2., the first day for
which the award is no longer subject to a reduction (1).
The reduction period determination is incorporated in a supersession decision which
takes effect from the same date (2). See ADM Chapter K8 (When reduction is to have
effect) for detailed guidance. See also Chapter A4 (Supersession) for guidance on
the supersession effective date rules.
1 UC Regs, reg 106; 2 UC, PIP, JSA & ESA (D&A) Regs, reg 27 & 35(1)(e)
K1052 « K1100Reduction periods run consecutively (1). If it is determined that an award of UC should
be reduced as a result of a sanctionable failure, and a reduction has already been
imposed for a previous sanctionable failure, the later reduction is added to the total
outstanding reduction period, and takes effect once the previous reduction has
ended. This may mean that more than one reduction could be made in the same
1 UC Regs, reg 101(2) & 106(c)
ExampleDanny has been entitled to UC since 8.5.13. He fails for no good reason to attend a
MWA work placement on 23.6.14, and on 1.7.14 the DM imposes a higher-level
sanction for 91 days. The reduction takes effect from 8.6.14.
Danny fails to attend for his fortnightly interview on 13.8.14. He comes in to the
Jobcentre on 15.8.14, saying that he forgot about the interview, and provides
evidence of his fortnight's work search and work availability. The DM decides to
impose a low-level sanction for a reduction period of 9 days (2 days non-
compliance, followed by a 7 day fixed period).
Danny's 91 day higher-level sanction is due to finish on 6.9.14. The payment due on
7.9.14 only has one day not affected by the higher-level sanction, so the low-level
reduction starts on 7.9.14. The remaining 8 days reduction period take effect in the
next assessment period starting on 8.9.14.
K1053 « K1088When calculating which reduction period applies, a previous sanctionable failure is
disregarded for the purposes of escalation (see K1088) if
1. it is within the 13 days immediately before the date of the current sanctionable
failure (1) or
2. it is more than 364 days immediately before the date of the current
sanctionable failure (2) or
3. it is not at the same level as the current sanctionable failure.
NoteSee ADM Chapters K3 - K5 for further examples in relation to higher, medium,
low and lowest-level sanctions.
1 UC Regs, reg 101(4); 2 reg 102(2), 103(2) & 104(2) & (3)
1. a failure must be within 365 days of the previous failure in order to escalate to
the next penalty or
2. where there are two failures within 14 days of each other a sanction will be
imposed for each failure but the duration of the second sanction will not
Note: Escalating sanctions is designed to deter claimants who repeatedly fail to
meet the work-related requirements placed upon them within the same fortnightly
signing period. Safeguards are included to ensure the sanction length does not
escalate too quickly to the maximum period during a short period. The DM considers
whether there has been another sanctionable failure in the 13 days or 364 days
preceding the date of the failure in question.
ExampleOn 3.9.13 Kofi fails to attend his fortnightly interview and give evidence of
compliance with work search and work availability requirements. He fails to attend
again on 17.9.13. The DM determines that both are sanctionable failures for which a
low-level sanction should be imposed. As the failure on 3.9.13 is within 14 days of
the failure on 17.9.13, it is disregarded when considering what fixed reduction period
to apply for the second failure.
K1055See ADM Chapter K8 for guidance on when a reduction period begins and ends,
1. a reduction is
1.1 suspended when the amount of UC is restricted following one or more
benefit fraud offences (1) or
1.2 terminated where the claimant satisfies specified weekly earnings rules (2)
2. the reduction period continues after UC entitlement terminates (3).
1 UC Regs, reg 108; SS Fraud Act 01, s 6B, 7 & 9; 2 UC Regs, reg 109; 3 reg 107
total outstanding reduction period would exceed 1095 days, the number of days in
the reduction period is adjusted to ensure that this limit is not exceeded (1). The
calculation of the total outstanding reduction period is made at the date when the DM
makes the determination of the reduction period.
1 UC Regs, reg 101(3)
K1060 applies, the total outstanding reduction period is
the total number of days of a reduction period for which an award of UC has
not yet been reduced (1).
1 UC Regs, reg 101(5)
ExampleSally has had several different sanctions imposed for failure to comply with work-
related requirements since her entitlement to UC began on 15.8.13. She had a
higher-level sanction of 91 days imposed on 9.10.13, because she left her part-time
job voluntarily for no good reason. Sally later refused to apply for a job vacancy on
19.12.13, and a further higher-level sanction of 182 days was imposed. The
reduction period for the failures began on 15.9.13, and is due to end on 14.6.14.
After Sally failed to attend a MWA work placement which started on 12.5.14, the DM
decides on 20.5.14 to impose a further higher-level sanction. This ought to be for
1095 days, as there was a previous 182 day higher-level sanctionable failure within
365 days. However, as at 20.5.14 the total outstanding reduction period is 25 days,
that is the number of days for which Sally's award of UC has not yet been reduced.
The DM therefore imposes a reduction period of 1070 days, effective from 15.6.14.
[K1062-K1069]Sanctionable failure decision making
K1070 IntroductionThis section gives guidance on general principles the DM should consider when
making decisions on sanctionable failures.
K1075 Has the claimant failed to comply with a work-related requirementWhen considering whether to impose a higher, medium, low or lowest-level
sanction, the DM should first determine whether the claimant has failed to comply
with a work-related requirement and if so, what that failure is. See ADM Chapter J3
for detailed guidance on work-related requirements.
K1076 Does a reduction applyWhere the DM determines that the claimant has failed to comply with a work-related
requirement, the next step is to consider whether it is a failure for which
1. no reduction would apply or
2. a reduction would apply.
K1077See ADM Chapter K3 (Higher-level sanctions) for guidance on where no reduction
is made for specified higher-level sanctionable failures (1).
1 UC Regs, reg 113
K1080 Good reasonIf the failure is one for which no reduction is applied, for example failing to apply for a
vacancy which exists due to a strike during a trade dispute, the DM does not need to
consider good reason.
K1081If the DM determines that the failure is one for which a reduction would apply, they
should consider whether the claimant had a good reason for the failure to comply.
See ADM Chapter K2 for detailed guidance on good reason.
K1085 Which sanction level and reduction period appliesWhere
1. the claimant has no good reason for a failure to comply with a work-related
2. the sanctionable failure is one for which a reduction applies
the DM should consider which sanction level and reduction period applies.
K1086The reduction period depends on whether the sanctionable failure results in a
sanction (1) (see ADM Chapter K3) or
sanction (2) (see ADM Chapter K4) or
sanction (3) (see ADM Chapter K5) or
sanction (4) (see ADM Chapter K6).
1 UC Regs, reg 102; 2 reg 103; 3 reg 104; 4 reg 105
K1087Reduction periods can be for
1. an open period until the claimant meets a compliance condition or
2. a fixed period or
3. a combination of both.
Higher and medium-level sanctions are for a fixed period, low-level sanctions have
a combination of an open period until compliance, followed by a fixed period, while
lowest-level sanctions are for an open period until compliance.
K1088 « K1053Reduction periods are for different lengths depending on
1. the claimant's age at the date of the sanctionable failure and
2. whether there have been other sanctionable failures at the same level before
the current failure.
2. applies, this is known as escalation. For example, higher-level sanctions
for a claimant aged 18 or over are for 91 days, 182 days or 1095 days, depending on
whether the current sanctionable failure is a first, second or subsequent
sanctionable failure in a 365 day period but not within 14 days( see ADM K1053).
Higher-level sanctions for a claimant aged 16 or 17 are for 14 days or 28 days.
K1089As part of the process of considering whether escalation applies, the DM should
consider whether there have been previous sanctionable failures
1. at the same level and
2. for which a decision to impose a reduction has been made, even if the
reduction has not yet begun.
1: See ADM Chapter K7 for guidance on the effect of a JSA or ESA sanction
on UC reduction periods, where the JSA or ESA sanction is moved to UC.
Note 2: The DM considers whether there has been another sanctionable failure in
the 13 days or 364 days preceding the date of the failure in question.
1. for which no reduction is applied (1) or
2. which is a pre-claim failure (2)
is excluded when calculating which reduction period applies. See ADM Chapter K3
(Higher-level sanctions) for further details.
1 WR Act 12, s 26(8)(a); UC Regs, reg 113; 2 WR Act 12, s 26(4); UC Regs, reg 102
K1091When considering the period of the reduction (see K1050 et seq) for higher, medium
and low-level sanctions, the DM should consider whether there was another
sanctionable failure in the period preceding the current failure. This includes failures
which were subsequent to the failure in question, but were decided earlier.
ExampleSiān is entitled to UC. She had been required by the adviser to register with a
specified employment agency by 20.5.14, as part of her search for catering work, but
fails to do so. She notifies the adviser on 23.5.14 that she registered with the agency
on the same day. The failure is referred for determination by the DM, who writes to
Siān asking for an explanation for the failure to comply.
Siān has not yet replied when she fails to attend her fortnightly interview at the
Jobcentre on 5.6.14, and attends on 19.6.14 saying she forgot about the previous
appointment. The interview on 19.6.14 meets the compliance condition.
On 23.6.14 the DM imposes a reduction of 21 days (14 days before compliance + 7
days as there are no previous sanctionable failures) for the failure to attend the
fortnightly interview. The failure of 20.5.14 is not taken into account as no sanction
has been imposed.
On 26.6.14 the DM considers the failure to comply with a specific work search
requirement of 20.5.14. Siān has not given any good reason for the failure. The DM
imposes a reduction of 17 days (3 days before compliance + 14 days as there was
another sanctionable failure before the current failure). The 17 day reduction period
is added to the existing 21 days reduction period.
K1100 Start of reduction periodOnce the DM has determined which sanction level and reduction period applies,
including where the period is reduced as in K1060, the reduction period is added to
the total outstanding reduction period (see K1061). The next step is to determine
when the reduction period begins. This is normally the first day of the assessment
period in which the determination is made, or if it is not possible to implement the
reduction then, the following assessment period. The DM also needs to consider
whether the period should follow a previous reduction as in K1052. See ADM
Chapter K8 (When a reduction is to have effect) for detailed guidance.
K1101 Amount of reductionThe final step in the process of making a decision on a sanctionable failure is to
determine the amount of the reduction (1), including the daily reduction rate (2). This
varies depending on the claimant's circumstances at the end of the assessment
period, and whether they are a joint claimant. The daily reduction rate is
1. an amount equivalent to the standard allowance multiplied by 12 and divided
by 365 or
2. where the claimant satisfies certain conditions at the end of the assessment
period (including a change to work-related requirements during the
2.1 40% of the daily reduction rate in 1. (for example where they are aged
16 or 17, or are responsible for a child aged between one and four) or
2.2 nil (where they have LCWRA).
Reduction rates for joint claimants are considered separately, and half the daily
reduction rate in 1. or 2. applies. See ADM Chapter K9 (Amount of reduction) for
1 UC Regs, reg 110; 2 reg 111
K1105 Recoverable hardship paymentsWhere the DM decides to impose a sanction, and the claimant's benefit is reduced,
the claimant may be eligible for recoverable hardship payments. See ADM Chapter
L1 (Hardship) for detailed guidance.