The criticism itself varies from the thought out view that people working for just their JSA & expenses without contribution by the private institutions amounts to a government subsidy for businesses....and then you have the rabid "this is exactly like slavery" folk.
(I've also read blogs that try to argue that there are different types of slavery, some of which are more similar to the programme than the common understanding of slavery.. so its ok to call it that...though on closer inspection the author had either cherry picked or was simply misinformed about ancient slavery).
The whole thing has a very slight whiff of the central No2AV campaign about it. The lumping together of many different work schemes, voluntary as well as mandatory, adding together all the participants and then using all the potentially controversial parts of different schemes to make it seem that a huge number have to suffer terribly is so dishonest, but they have used real data.. *Eric M - "just not necessarily in the right order" ..
So let's look at the facts..these are pretty thin on the group in a huge error by the Government which has allowed room for the social media driven nonsense which fills our ears, inboxes and twitter feeds to flourish.
The source of the most comprehensive list of the schemes comes from an unlikely source. The Guardian (full article on the link)...Did it just get cold in here? I have used their data to compress it into easy read bullet points
Here we go...
- The Work Experience programme is voluntary
- For 16 - 24 year olds
- Out of employment from 3-9 months
- Placements are 2-8 weeks
- Placements are from 25-30 hrs
- JSA & Expenses including childcare costs
- If the placement is abandoned without good reason after one week the participant runs the risk of losing two weeks benefits
- 34,200 people had started a Work Experience placement by Nov 11
Sector-based work academies
- Training and a work placement
- Open to people unemployed for over three months.
- Anyone completing a placement is given a guaranteed job interview
- Placements last up to six weeks (part classroom training/part on-the-job)
- Participation is voluntary but those that quit face sanctions
- 3,400 people had participated as of Nov 11
Mandatory Work Activity
- Compulsory Scheme for people "who have little or no understanding of what behaviours are required to obtain and keep work."
- No set time frame though placements typically reserved for those unemployed over three months
- Scheme lasts six to eight weeks
- Up to 30 hours a week
- The jobs must "make a contribution to the community"
- Refusal leads to a loss of 13 weeks benefit, the second refusal increases this to 26 weeks
- 24,010 people participated up to Nov 11
The Work Programme
- The scheme is for "tailored support" which may or may not include useful work placements
- This task is contracted out to organisations that do not have authority over Benefits
- Starts nine months for young people and a year for everyone else
- 370,000 people were referred to the Work Programme as of Nov 11 (as stated not all these involve work placements
Community Activity Programme
- Pilot scheme for hose unemployed for more than two years
- Work placements are up to 30 hrs per week
- Work placements can last up to six months
- Help to get into employment is also included in the scheme
- The scheme is designed "to develop disciplines and skills associated with sustained employment, (for example: attending on time on a regular basis as part of a working routine, carrying out specific tasks and working under supervision".
- The placements must be tasks that deliver contribution to the local community and " must not displace what would otherwise be paid jobs."
- As will MWA, this is compulsory and will result in sanctions if quit