Jobcentres ignore law

The Department for Work and Pensions is launching an investigation into claims that Shabbat-observant Jews continue to be refused job seekers allowance.

Under a policy followed by some job centres in the north-west of England, claimants who are not willing to work on Saturdays are automatically denied JSA.

Earlier this month a Charedi man won a landmark tribunal decision over his claim that he was wrongly refused JSA .

But an adviser at a Jobcentre Plus branch in the north-west has revealed that staff are still under instruction to deny benefit to claimants unwilling to work on Shabbat. The adviser, who cannot be named, said that senior district managers instruct staff to raise an “availability doubt” over such cases which would affect their chances of receiving the allowance.

In response a DWP spokesperson said: “No Jobcentre Plus or decision-making office should, under any circumstances, expect a claimant to compromise their religious practices in order to claim JSA. DWP will of course conduct an investigation.”

Manchester’s Jewish employment agency, JCom, has launched a campaign in conjunction with a law firm asking Jewish JSA claimants to come forward if they have been refused the benefit.

Last updated: 11:45am, July 19 2013