Traineeships to escape DWP’s 16-hour rule from early next month

A Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) exemption for traineeships that was promised last year by Chancellor George Osborne is to come into force early next month, FE Week can reveal.

The government’s flagship youth unemployment scheme had fallen foul of a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rule that limits to 16 hours the amount of time JSA claimants can train every week and still get benefits.

But trainees aged 19 and above will be exempted from Monday, March 3, in a move that includes all new and existing enrolments, according to a Skills Funding Agency spokesperson. The hour limit has been almost doubled to 30 hours a-week.

An exemption from the 16-hour rule for traineeships had been promised in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement in December, but delays in confirming when the exemption would be introduced had led to frustration in the sector.

The agency spokesperson said: “From Monday, March 3, the DWP is removing the ’16-hour rule’ for training that has applied to JSA claimants participating in traineeships in England.

“The removal of the ’16-hour rule’ applies only to the traineeship programme and includes all new and existing participants.

“It means JSA claimants aged 19+ will be able to participate in a traineeship programme for up to 30 hours a-week without affecting their JSA entitlement.”