Thousands of parents on Universal Credit will be supported to increase their chances of getting a job or up their work hours from today (Wednesday 25th October).

Parents of 3 to 12-year-olds will agree with their Work Coach to spend more time in work or applying for jobs, up to a maximum of 30 hours a week. Commitments will be tailored to parents’ personal circumstances, including the availability of childcare. Alongside local Jobcentre support, this action could include time updating CVs or developing skills through courses and workshops.

The move comes after the UK Government boosted childcare support for low-income families, with up-front and increased costs of up to £951 a month for one child and £1,630 for two or more children – a near 50% increase on the previous Universal Credit childcare offer.

Eligible parents who increase their working hours are now also receiving up to 85% of their upfront childcare costs back before their next month’s bills are due, helping them cover costs one month in advance going forward. Prior to these changes many low-income families struggled with upfront childcare bills, making it harder for them to move into work.

Over half a million parents are set to benefit from these improved work chances, building on changes announced in July for parents with young children to meet their Work Coach more often.  

Work is the best way to move out of poverty. According to the latest figures, working age adults living in workless households are over seven times more likely to be in absolute poverty after housing costs than working age adults in households where all adults work.

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mel Stride MP said:

“We are pulling down barriers that stop parents working and fulfilling their potential, because we know full time work not only benefits mum and dad but the whole family too.

“These changes will support thousands on their back to work journey. We’re backing working families, and as they step up for their careers, we are taking action to halve inflation, grow the economy and make everyone’s money go further.”

One person to already benefit from changes to conditionality is Kacee from Gateshead. Kacee who is 19 is a single parent of a one-year-old son who has already started to meet more frequently with her Work Coach. Since August, she has tapped into the more generous childcare costs through Universal Credit and is now working as a retail assistant part-time.

Households are at least £6,000 a year better off in full-time work than out of work on benefits, according to data covering the impact of moving onto Universal Credit and since 2010, there are almost 700,000 fewer children growing up in workless households, transforming their life chances.

Almost half (49%) of non-working mothers also say if they could arrange good quality childcare they would prefer to be employed, according to a Department for Education childcare and early years survey.

Those impacted will see updates to their expected Work-Related Activity which includes searching and applying for jobs, updating CVs, and developing transferable skills through workshops. All activity is designed to prepare parents to increase their likelihood of getting a job or increasing their hours.