We often hear how the JobCentre staff vary on the information they give to Home Educators. To clarify the situation we did an FOI to the DWP
HERE is the full FOI.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 15 February 2016 and your review request received on 12 March 2016.
“Are we correct in thinking that the job centre can not suggest school as appropriate child care to a home educating parent claiming job seekers allowance when offered a job?
What age would the job centre expect a parent leave a child alone at home whilst they go out to work? When agreeing the hours a home educating parent is able and looking to work, is the parent able to stipulate suitable hours such as evenings only (whereas a parent of a schooled child would only be looking for work during school hours)”?
The Department can confirm that that the Jobcentres cannot suggest school as appropriate child care to a home educating parent claiming job seekers allowance when offered a job.
There are flexibilities within the JSA regime to cater for the needs and personal circumstances of parents whilst they are looking for paid work of 16 hours or more per week, including those who wish to educate their child(ren) at home.
Additionally, lone parents may restrict their availability for jobs to their child’s normal school hours until the child is 13. Parents who educate their child(ren) at home are therefore treated in the same way as all other parents.
The Jobcentre would not expect a parent leave a child alone at home whilst they go out to work. People will need to demonstrate that they have made genuine efforts to locate childcare, this will provide parents who educate their children at home with protection if no local services that meet their needs are available.
The extracts of instruction attached as Annexes 1 to 4 advise when a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant can restrict their availability if they have caring responsibilities for a child and how those restrictions should be applied to their availability for work.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact us quoting the reference number above.
Yours sincerely, DWP Central FoI Team
‘Restrictions for Claimants with caring responsibilities for a child
A claimant with caring responsibilities for a child can restrict their availability for employment to less than 40 hours per week, providing that:
they are available for work for as many hours as their caring responsibilities allow;
and they have reasonable prospects of securing employment;
and they are available for at least 16 hours per week.
In a small number of areas, there may be few or no jobs available which would fit within the restricted patterns of employment sought. To accommodate such a situation, where the Work Coach agrees that no suitable jobs are likely to be found, claimants with caring responsibilities for a child can restrict their hours to as many as their caring responsibilities allow, subject to a minimum of 16 hours per week, regardless of whether they can show reasonable prospects or not.’
Restrictions for Lone Parents From 26 April 2010, in addition to being able to restrict their availability as a claimant with caring responsibilities for a child, a Lone Parent who has a child aged 12 or under, has the right to restrict their availability for work to school hours if they wish.
This right is restricted to normal school hours, for example 9am to 3.15pm subject to a minimum of 16 hours per week. Where a Lone Parent restricts their availability to school hours, they do not have to show they have reasonable prospects of getting a job. If a Lone Parent has more than one child aged 12 or under, they can restrict their availability in line with the school hours of all of their children.