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Chapter K5: Low-level sanctions

Contents
K5001:Introduction
When does a low-level sanction apply
K5010:Which work-related groups are subject to low-level sanctions
Which work-related requirement failures are subject to low-level
K5015:sanctions

What is the reduction period
K5020:Claimant aged 18 or over
K5025:Claimant aged 16 or 17
K5030:Participating in an employment programme
K5035:Meaning of fails to comply
K5037:Imposition of requirements
K5038:Inappropriate behaviour
K5050:Work experience
K5061:Gross misconduct

Chapter K5: Low-level sanctions

K5001 Introduction

This Chapter should be read with ADM Chapter K1 (Sanctions - general principles).
This gives guidance on the meaning of terms, and what considerations apply when
determining what reduction period applies. See ADM Chapter K8 for guidance on
when the reduction has effect, and Chapter K9 for guidance on the amount of the
reduction.

K5002

A low-level sanction is a reduction of UC for a sanctionable failure by a claimant (1) who
1. falls within specified work-related requirements groups (2) - see K5010 and
2. fails without good reason to comply with specified work-related requirements (3)
- see K5015.
See ADM Chapter J2 for guidance on work-related requirements groups, and
Chapter J3 for guidance on work-related requirements. See Chapter K1 (Sanctions
- general principles) for the meaning of a sanctionable failure.

1 WR Act 12, s 27; UC Regs, reg 104(1); 2 WR Act 12, s 21 or 22; 3 s 15(1), 16(1), 17(1)(b) & 23(1), (3) & (4)

K5003 K5004

The reduction period is in two parts:
1. an open period which ends as in K5020 1. or K5025 1.1 and
2. where the claimant is aged
2.1 18 or over, a fixed period of 7, 14 or 28 days (2) (see K5020 2.) or
2.2 16 or 17, a fixed period of 7 days, but only if there was a previous
sanctionable failure which resulted in a low-level sanction (3) (see K5205
2.).

1 UC Regs, reg 104(2)(a) & (3)(a); 2 reg 104(2)(b); 3 reg 104(3)(b)

K5004

The length of the fixed period reduction in K5003 2.1 depends on whether there
have been previous sanctionable failures resulting in a low-level sanction. See K5020 et seq for further details.

[K5005-K5009]

When does a low-level sanction apply

K5010 Which work-related groups are subject to low-level sanctions K5002

Claimants in the
1. WFI and work preparation only group (1) or
2. all work-related requirements group (2)
who fail without good reason to comply with the work-related requirements in K5015
are subject to a low-level sanction (3). See ADM Chapter J2 for guidance on work-
related requirements groups.
1 WR Act 12, s 21; 2 s 22; 3 UC Regs, reg 104(1)(a)

[K5011-K5014]

K5015 Which work-related requirement failures are subject to low-level sanctions K5002 K5010 K5030

Low-level sanctions apply where the claimant fails without good reason to comply
with (1)
1. a WFI requirement (2) or
2. a work preparation requirement (3) or
3. a work search requirement - but only in relation to a requirement to take
particular action specified by the Secretary of State)4 or
4. a requirement to
4.1 take part in an interview about the imposition of or compliance with a
work-related requirement (5) or
4.2 provide information or evidence of compliance with a work-related
requirement (6) or
4.3 report changes of circumstances relevant to the imposition of or
compliance with a work-related requirement (7).
Note 1: See ADM Chapter J3 for detailed guidance on work-related requirements.
Note
2: See K5030 et seq for further details where the work preparation requirement
is to participate in an employment programme, a work placement (other than MWA)
or work experience.
1 UC Regs, reg 104(1)(b); 2 WR Act 12, s 15(1); 3 s 16(1); 4 s 17(1)(b); 5 s 23(1); 6 s 23(3); 7 s 23(4)

[K5016-K5019]

What is the reduction period

K5020 Claimant aged 18 or over K5003 K5003 K5004 K5022

Where the claimant is aged 18 or over on the date of the sanctionable failure, the
reduction period is the total of (1)
1. the number of days beginning with the date of the sanctionable failure and
ending with
1.1 the day before the day on which the claimant meets a compliance
condition specified by the Secretary of State or
1.2 the day before the day on which the claimant falls into the "no work-
related requirements" group (2) or
1.3 in the case of a work preparation requirement, the day before the day
on which the claimant is no longer required to take specified action (3) or
1.4 the date on which the award terminates (other than because the
claimant ceases to be, or becomes, a member of a couple)
whichever is soonest and
2. a fixed period of
2.1 7 days where there has not been a previous low-level sanctionable
failure in the 364 days, but not 13 days, immediately before the date
of the current failure or
2.2 14 days if, in the 364 days, but not 13 days, immediately before the
date of the current failure, there was another low-level sanctionable
failure for which a 7 day reduction was imposed or
2.3 28 days if, in the 364 days, but not 13 days, immediately before the
date of the current failure, there was another low-level sanctionable
failure for which a 14 day or 28 day reduction was imposed.
Note: See ADM Chapter K1 (Sanctions - general principles) for the meaning of
compliance condition, and ADM Chapter K8 (When a reduction is to have effect) for
guidance on when the reduction begins where there is more than one sanctionable
failure.

1 UC Regs, reg 104(2); 2 WR Act 12, s 19; 3 s 16

K5021

This means
1. a failure must be within 365 days of the previous failure in order to escalate to
the next penalty and
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 escalate.
Note:
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.

K5022

A sanctionable failure which
1. is in the 13 days immediately before the failure under consideration (1) (see
ADM Chapter K1) or
2. resulted in a reduction at a different level or
3. was imposed for a sanctionable failure as in K5020 (claimant aged 16 or 17)
does not count for the purposes of calculating which period in K5025 applies.
1 UC Regs, reg 101(4)

Example 1

Justin is required to register with a national employment agency as part of his work
search requirement by the day before he is next due to attend the Jobcentre on
20.11.13. When he attends, Justin tells the adviser that he did not register because
he did not want to give his details on-line, and had not got around to attending the
agency's office. Justin later provides evidence that he registered with the agency on
26.11.13.
The DM determines that Justin had failed without good reason to comply with a
specified action as part of a work search requirement. Justin has no previous
sanctionable failures, so the DM imposes a sanction of 6 days, and a further 7 days
following compliance.

Example 2

Hayley is entitled to UC including the LCW element. Her award has already been
reduced for a sanctionable failure including a 7 day period, due to a failure to attend
a WFI on 21.5.14. Hayley was required to take part in a further WFI on 7.8.14, and
to produce a CV at the same time, but fails to attend. She phones on 12.8.14 to say
she forgot about the appointment, and still hasn't prepared her CV.
The DM determines that Hayley had no good reason for her failure to attend the
interview, and a reduction is imposed including a 14 day period. As Hayley did not
produce the CV on the required date, and has not given an explanation for this, a
further reduction including a period of 14 days is imposed for the second failure.

Example 3

Carlo is entitled to UC after being made redundant. He is required to take part in the
programme "Skills Conditionality", but refuses to do so. The DM imposes a reduction
for the sanctionable failure, including a fixed period reduction of 7 days.
Carlo is involved in a road traffic accident, and after application of the WCA, is found
to have LCWRA. The open part of the reduction ends as the DM determines that
Carlo is not subject to work-related requirements. See ADM Chapter K9 for
guidance on the amount of the reduction.

Example 4

Lily is entitled to UC. She is in the all work-related requirements group, and due to a
sanctionable failure a 91 day higher-level sanction is imposed from June 2014. Lily's
health deteriorates and the DM determines that she has LCW. Lily is now in the work
preparation group, and on 22.9.14 she fails to attend an initial WFI. Lily's previous
higher-level sanction is not used to calculate the fixed period of the lower-level
sanction imposed due to the failure to take part in a WFI.

Example 5

Oscar is entitled to UC with housing costs. He is employed with earnings above his
individual income threshold. As part of his claimant commitment, Oscar is required
to report if his job ends within 5 working days.
Oscar's job comes to an end on 8.8.14 when the company relocates. He does not
notify this until 1.9.14. Because of the earnings he lost when his job ended, he now
falls within the all work-related requirements group. The DM determines that Oscar
had no good reason for his failure to notify the loss of his job, and imposes a low-
level sanction of 23 days (16 days for the period 16-31.8.14 followed by a fixed
period of 7 days).

[K5023-K5024]

K5025 Claimant aged 16 or 17 K5003 K5022

Where the claimant is aged 16 or 17 years old on the date of the sanctionable
failure, the reduction period is the total of (1)
1. the number of days beginning with the date of the sanctionable failure and
ending with the day before the day on which
1.1 the claimant meets a compliance condition specified by the Secretary of
State or
1.2 the claimant falls into the "no work-related requirements" group (2) or
1.3 in the case of a work preparation requirement, the claimant is no longer
required to take specified action (3) or
1.4 the award is terminated (other than because the claimant ceases to be,
or becomes, a member of a couple)
whichever is soonest and
2. where there has been a previous low-level sanctionable failure within 365
days of the current failure, a fixed period of 7 days.
1 UC Regs, reg 104(3); 2 WR Act 12, s 19; 3 s 16

Example

Gracie is 17 and entitled to UC. She has LCW and is in the work preparation group.
She has already had a low-level sanction for failure to attend a WFI in June 2014,
and a further sanction is imposed when she fails to attend a further WFI in August
2014. Gracie still hasn't agreed to take part in a WFI in September 2014 when she
moves in with her partner Brian, who is also entitled to UC. The low-level reduction
for Gracie's sanctionable failure continues for the new award of UC paid to Gracie
and Brian as joint claimants.
Gracie provides evidence that from 14.12.14 she is within 11 weeks of her EDC.
Gracie is no longer required to meet any work-related requirement, and the open
period part of the low-level reduction ends on 20.12.14. See ADM Chapter K9 for
guidance on the amount of the reduction.

[K5026-K5029]

K5030 Participating in an employment programme K5015 K5031

A low-level sanction can be imposed where the claimant fails to comply with a work
preparation requirement which
1. is specified by the Secretary of State and
2. in the opinion of the Secretary of State makes it more likely that the claimant
will obtain paid work, more paid work or better paid work (1).
Note: This includes participating in an employment programme (see K5015 2.).

1 WR Act 12, s 16(3)(d); UC Regs, reg 104(1)(b)(ii)

K5031 K5038

Individual programmes are not defined in UC legislation, but for the purposes of K5030employment programmes include
1. Day One Support for Young People
2. The Derbyshire Mandatory Youth Activity Programme
3. Full-time Training Flexibility
4. New Enterprise Allowance
5. The sector-based work academy
6. Skills
Conditionality
7. The Work Programme.
Note:
This does not include the MWA scheme (1). For detailed guidance on MWA see
ADM Chapter K3 (Higher-level sanctions).

1 WR Act 12, s 26(2)(a) & 27(3); UC Regs, reg 114

K5032

All these schemes aim to support UC claimants towards or into paid work, more paid
work or better paid work, and address various issues such as a lack of experience of
work and the associated skills needed within the work place which can have a
significant effect on the chances of unemployed people.

[K5033-K5034]

K5035 Meaning of fails to comply

Fails to comply is not defined in legislation and therefore takes its everyday meaning
of failing `to meet a specific requirement'. For employment programmes, this
includes a failure to take part in any activity which is specified by the Secretary of
State in relation to
1. the specific placement with what the provider expects and
2. what is considered
2.1
reasonable and
2.2 acceptable
in a working situation and in the claimant's individual circumstances, which makes it
more likely in the opinion of the Secretary of State that the claimant will obtain paid
work, more paid work or better paid work.

K5036 K5038

This may include for example
1. turning up for an interview
2. preparing an action plan
3. writing a CV
4. working as a team
5. displaying interpersonal skills
6. taking part in skills training
7. developing a business plan
8. improving personal presentation
9. attending a skills assessment
10. taking part in a work experience or work placement.
It can be any reasonable activity which in the opinion of the Secretary of State will
improve a claimant's chances of obtaining paid work, more paid work or better paid
work.
Note: It would be for the DM to consider the claimant's reasons for any failure to
comply, and the claimant would have to show good reason for the failure. For
detailed guidance on good reason see ADM Chapter K2 (Good reason).

K5037 Imposition of requirements

For detailed guidance as to when and how a work preparation requirement is
imposed by the Secretary of State see ADM Chapter J3 (Work-related
requirements).

K5038 Inappropriate behaviour

Employment programmes such as those listed at K5031 are designed to help certain
claimants enhance their employment prospects and gain opportunities to develop
skills and disciplines associated with a normal working environment such as
attending on time, carrying out tasks, working as a team and interpersonal skills -
see K5036. Those skills also include `behaviours' acceptable in a place of work.

K5039

Whilst on an employment programme, if a claimant uses inappropriate behaviour
once mandated onto the programme, this may be regarded as a failure to comply
with a specified work preparation requirement.

K5040

A claimant's acts and omissions will be judged by the DM under good reason with
reference to that claimant's personal circumstances - see ADM Chapter K2 (Good
reason).
Note: Inappropriate behaviour can be any unreasonable act or omission shown
towards the employer, other employees or customers, or a refusal to do a specific
task, or where a claimant is particularly obstructive.

Example

Em starts her Work Programme placement as required in a charity shop, but is sent
home on her first day because of her attitude and rude behaviour towards the other
staff and customers. She continually uses obscene language. The DM can consider
a sanction as Em's loss of the placement due to her behaviour is a failure to comply
with a work preparation requirement as specified by the Secretary of State, as it is
not considered acceptable behaviour by a reasonable person in a working situation.

[K5041-K5049]

K5050 Work experience

A low-level sanction can be imposed where the claimant fails to comply with a work
preparation requirement specified by the Secretary of State which includes
undertaking work experience or a work placement (1).

1 WR Act 12, s 16(3)(e); UC Regs, reg 104(1)(b)(ii)

K5051 K5052

In UC legislation there is no definition of work experience. However participation in
work experience may be required by way of a work preparation requirement or as
part of the mandatory work programmes known as
1. Work
Programme
or
2. sector-based work academies.
Note
1: There is no work experience element for the MWA scheme, instead there is
a work placement for community benefit. For guidance on the MWA scheme see
ADM Chapter K3 - Higher-level sanctions.
Note 2: Also see the guidance in ADM Chapter K3 - Higher-level sanctions if the
placement is a paid work trial.

K5052

Participation in a work experience opportunity will be voluntary and claimants who
leave or lose a place on such a placement as described in K5051 will be treated as
having good reason unless they lose the place through gross misconduct (see K5061).

K5053

The claimant will have been informed that, whilst participation in the work experience
opportunity is voluntary, if their behaviour falls below an acceptable standard a
sanction to their benefit may be applied.

[K5054-K5060]

K5061 Gross misconduct K5052

Gross misconduct is not defined in legislation but suggests misconduct that is
1. 'blatantly
wrong'
or
2. 'unacceptable'.
It is conduct that is so serious that only one instance of such behaviour will warrant
the employer's immediate termination of the work experience opportunity.

K5062

The DM should be able to establish when making a decision to sanction for gross
misconduct that it was fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. Instances of
gross misconduct and the seriousness of the conduct will need to be assessed in the
light of all the individual particular circumstances having regard to all the relevant
facts and evidence.

K5063

Examples of gross misconduct which would normally justify the imposition of a
sanction are:
1. dishonesty or theft from the employer or co-workers
2. fighting with or assault on another person in the workplace
3. abusive behaviour towards co-workers or customers
4. deliberately damaging the employer's property
5. a serious act of insubordination towards a person in a position of authority in
the workplace
6. endangering the safety of self or others by some deliberate act or omission
7. serious incapability through the use of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Note
1: This list is not exhaustive and each case should be considered on its own
merits.
Note
2: Repeated instances of minor misconduct such as lack of punctuality or
carelessness in performing tasks will not amount to gross misconduct.

Example

1: Karen has an argument with her supervisor regarding her standard of work. She
storms off and deliberately punches and smashes a glass door panel. She says she
needed to let off steam. She is dismissed from her work experience placement. Her
actions were deliberate and damaged the employer's property and could have
endangered her safety or the safety of others. Her conduct can be regarded as
gross misconduct and a sanction imposed.

Example

2: Jason is constantly late for his work experience opportunity. He says he finds it hard
to get up in the mornings. Although his actions are minor misconduct and he is
dismissed from his work experience opportunity they do not amount to gross
misconduct and so no sanction would be imposed.

Example

3: John swears at and punches his boss who tells him off for arriving late. He is
dismissed from his work experience placement. His actions can be considered as a
serious act of insubordination that amounts to gross misconduct and a sanction
imposed.
Example 4:
Ann tells her WP provider she has decided to leave her work experience placement
and then turns up for work drunk. She is asked to leave the placement immediately.
A sanction is imposed on the grounds of gross misconduct. Ann requests a review of
the decision stating she had already decided to leave the placement before the
gross misconduct occurred. The DM determines the sanction is still appropriate as
Ann failed in her obligation to maintain a minimum standard of good behaviour while
participating in the placement regardless of the fact that she had already announced
an intention to leave the voluntary work experience element and is regarded as
having failed to comply without good reason in a work preparation requirement.

[K5064-K5999]