Indefinate mandatory workfare for the ill and disabled from Monday.

(62 Posts)
Darkesteyes Fri 30-Nov-12 22:44:13

On Monday 3rd December (which is also international day of the disabled person) ill and disabled people become officially eligible for mandatory workfare.
If unable to do it they could face having to live on £28.15 a week. Inhumane.

www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/nov/30/sick-disabled-work-benefits-programme

zellka Sun 16-Dec-12 19:55:39

Surely making disabled and sick people do indefinate workfarewhen jobseekers are limited to 4 weeks is positivly discriminating against the disabled which is already illegal. I would think it could be challenged in the EU courts .

Pixel Sun 09-Dec-12 23:46:57

What is required is for employers and current employees to accept that many people with disabilities are capable of meaningful work and that certain assumptions about what is required of employees need to change

Or how are those with variable health issues, chronic pain or fatigue, ever going to fit in to a work pattern dictated by the needs of the employer? They are just not. Employers want something done, impaired people are able to do it, but in a manner and a time scale that allows them to which is why it must be less of a set rigid pattern, and more of a discussion.

Isn't all this exactly what Remploy has been doing successfully for years? They have been giving employment to people who have proved they are capable if they are only given proper support, and they have been turning out quality goods that are exported all over the world.
But first Labour and now the present government have been closing these factories down. It makes no sense to me.

BlameItOnTheChoirOfAngels Sun 09-Dec-12 23:20:49

I actually have nothing else to say, nothing covers how I feel.

Darkesteyes Sun 09-Dec-12 23:20:46
BlameItOnTheChoirOfAngels Sun 09-Dec-12 23:20:24

ffs.

Darkesteyes Sun 09-Dec-12 23:17:21
Jux Thu 06-Dec-12 21:31:59

This terrifies me. I get sick with fear over these things.

Leithlurker Wed 05-Dec-12 09:06:00

Karlos if work is ever to be available to the whole range of people with impairements then it must change and be flexible, you give a perfect example of what works for some i.e. restricted social contact. How is that to be achieved? Or how are those with variable health issues, chronic pain or fatigue, ever going to fit in to a work pattern dictated by the needs of the employer? They are just not. Employers want something done, impaired people are able to do it, but in a manner and a time scale that allows them to which is why it must be less of a set rigid pattern, and more of a discussion. Those with child care, or older workers would also benefit from getting rid of this notion that employers have the power over other peoples lives.

cory Wed 05-Dec-12 08:46:33

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 22:13:45
"I think we can take it as read that these assessments ought not to be entrusted to JCP staff - who I bet don;t wnat the responsibility anyway.
If there is to be no taking into account of medical evidence I very much doubt any employer will wnat to become involved. It's a massive potential liability. The whole notion is insane. "

I couldn't agree more whole-heartedly. But this is how Atos testing is currently done and has been for quite some time.

As for staff not wanting that job, staff are recruited to Atos with promises of better working conditions than at hospitals or surgeries- and you can see how for an overworked A&E receptionist or nurse the prospect of a job where you only have to fill in forms and not work night shifts or mop up sick must seem quite attractive. They get paid the same wages for work that from their pov is much easier than what they did before. There have been whistle blowers, both doctors and nurses, who have revealed the kind of instructions they were given by Atos both at the recruitment stage and actually on the job. They are specifically told they can only ask the questions on their questionnaire and observe the activitites that are on their list. Because it's tick box, there is nowhere they can add any specific medical concerns they may have. If you clock up enough points, you are automatically considered fit for work.

Darkesteyes Tue 04-Dec-12 22:14:06

Karlos it is workFARE they are mandating people on the ESA WRAG too. Not paid work that involves a wage.
Last year Tory MP Philip Davies floated the idea that disabled people could/should work for less than the minimum wage. IMO they were simply testing the water. When there wasnt much of a public outcry they realised they could get away with something harsher and here it is!

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 22:13:45

I think we can take it as read that these assessments ought not to be entrusted to JCP staff - who I bet don;t wnat the responsibility anyway.
If there is to be no taking into account of medical evidence I very much doubt any employer will wnat to become involved. It's a massive potential liability. The whole notion is insane.

ParsingFancy Tue 04-Dec-12 22:11:30

In theory, of course, the "work-activity" is supposed to be "appropriate" for the sick person.

In practice... Did I mention the discretion of the JobCentre clerk? This is a regime of mandatory activity where the onus is on the sick person to make a case that they shouldn't have to do it. It's a recipe for disaster.

And that's before JobCentre staff start behaving like on this thread.

ParsingFancy Tue 04-Dec-12 22:01:14

This mandatory workfare is intended to be for people with life-threatening heart conditions.

Who have been found not fit to work by ATOS and awarded ESA as part of the Work-Related Activity Group.

In which they may be told to... work. At the discretion of a JobCentre clerk who has no access to medical info and wouldn't understand it if they had.

Yes, it really is that bonkers.

cory Tue 04-Dec-12 21:55:16

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 18:40:47
"The possibility that someone would be directed to work where there was clear medical evidence to the effect that it would endanger their safety or that of others seems to me extremely remote."

But correct me if I am wrong: does the current form of Atos assessment actually take medical evidence from experts into account? Is it not based on the observations of the official on the day? In which case it seems perfectly possible that somebody with, say, a life-threatening heart condition could slip through.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 21:50:11

No job, anywhere, is "on the terms of the employee". Insisting on that will hobble us before we even begin. What is required is for employers and current employees to accept that many people with disabilities are capable of meaningful work and that certain assumptions about what is required of employees need to change. One bee in my bonnet, for example, is the insistence in work of all types however solitary that prospective employees should have certain social attributes - be chatty, smily, open to socialising with colleagues. There are plenty of people with ASD who would fail on these criteria but are actually perfectly capable of doing certain jobs.
To take a rather airy-fairy example, i was taught at college by someone who I'm fairly convinced had Aspergers. A period of adjustment on my part to some of his oddities of behaviour was required. But this was expected of me, quite rightly, as he was in fact a fantastic teacher (if hard to follow, because so incredibly clever) and the onus was on me to get my head round the ways in which he was different. I was richly rewarded for doing so. in many other walks of life, however, his behaviour would have caused him to be written off.

ParsingFancy Tue 04-Dec-12 20:45:08

"Parsing I will add to Karlos's compliment and say that the united nations should be contacting you shortly"

shock

<frames and keeps as will never happen again>

<unless they're after my arse for starting a small war somewhere grin>

Leithlurker Tue 04-Dec-12 19:58:02

Parsing I will add to Karlos's compliment and say that the united nations should be contacting you shortly as indeed we ARE agreeing

Karlos I apologise I baulked at what I thought was your tone of "disabled people can and should work" a notion no one has ever disagreed with, but it has to be on the terms of the employee as that will lead to it being sustainable not a revolving door of jobs that dont last and benefits separated by long periods of ill health brought on by trying to do the impossible.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 19:34:57

yes, that's exactly what i was trying to say, stated a great deal more succinctly...

ParsingFancy Tue 04-Dec-12 19:17:47

I think you're essentially in agreement, Leith & Karlos*: if the aim was to create better access to employment for people with disabilities, we'd be putting pressure on the employers, not on the people with disabilities.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 19:06:49

The notion that we are retreating from some kind of utopia where people with disabilities were getting access to employment more easily is laughable. less then 10% of people with ASD, for example, are in employment at all. I agree with you about disablism - that's precisely the point I'm making.

Leithlurker Tue 04-Dec-12 18:59:58

Bollocks to that Karlos, disabled people may have been gaining ground buy their own effort during the 80's and 90's even in to the early part of this centuray. Helped by both DLA which gave them more independence and ability to have their own transport, plus "Access to work" which surprise surprise both informed and assessed employers for suitable work adjustments, including equipment and covering travel costs.

Numbers of impaired students in higher education was going up, more publicly visable disabled people including people with learning disabilities, and complex support needs were living in their own homes, using community facilities.

A pretty good number of impaired people were actually in employment in all sectors, this outrage that people were "parked" for years has nothing what so ever to do with the choices and the wishes of the impaired themselves. People were parked due to a lack of jobs, a reduction in the help and the services that access to work suffered, and in particular a failing of the private work training and finding companies who knew what the government never wanted to hear. The main barrier to disabled people getting employment is employers who given the choice will employ those with no disability even if they are less well qualified and trained. Good simple, plain, old fashioned disabelism. Oh and when we get a legal frame work it is as quickly as possible is watered down and then got rid of, by I am ashamed to say a labour government.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Tue 04-Dec-12 18:40:47

I doubt there is case law on the subject but I think it is overwhelmingly likely that the courts would hold that people present in a place of employment under workfare arrangements were employees for the purposes of the 1974 Act and related legislation. The possibility that someone would be directed to work where there was clear medical evidence to the effect that it would endanger their safety or that of others seems to me extremely remote.It is far more likely, in my view, that someone will be assigned work which is not within their capacity, leading to them being treated as though they have not co-operated and deprived of support. For this system to work in a way which is just, the assessment of peoples' capacities would need to be undertaken by expert (in some cases extremely expert) people; and that is likely to cost far more than it would ever save in benefit.
I am all for this happeneing, actually, however costly it is, because I think there are lots of pople with illnesses and disabilities who would like to work and who could, with proper assessment and help, and this would in turn lead to a gradual acceptance that people with disabilities and conditions are actually quite capable of useful contribution in the workplace, and a reduction in dependency over the longer term. But this is a massive cultural shoft and the government plainly are not committed to effecting it.

MrsEdinburgh Tue 04-Dec-12 18:22:27

It seems that the only way this workfare will stop is when unfortunately someone collapses, dies or endangers the life of others whilst on workfare...

PseudoBadger Tue 04-Dec-12 18:15:03

Wrt to people on Workfare not being employees - they are not there for leisure. Someone (DWP?) has required them to be there and that they should work. Therefore they are employees, and someone will be responsible for their health and safety and liable should any incident occur. Whether it is the organisation that pays them or the specific organisation that directs them to do work is a matter to be tested.

ParsingFancy Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:58

Btw, I am very obviously Not A Lawyer, just trying to remember prevoius comments about pushing employment protections back to the 1870s, by someone who I believe is an employment specialist (don't know if law or HR side).

If an expert in this area comes along and says workfarers have the same protections to as employees under existing legislation, that will be great.

Although obviously they can't have the same wage protections and forms of appeal. And of course an employer terminating an employee is discharging them to the mercy of the welfare system; the welfare system discharging a claimant is doing so to... nothing.

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