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									Decision Makers Guide                                                                                                 Contents



         Chapter 34 - Sanctions

         Contents


         Sanctions - introduction and period
         Introduction ................................................................................................ 34001

         Claimants who get a training allowance ....................................................... 34004

         New Deal for 18-24 year olds ....................................................................... 34005

         More than one sanctionable offence committed .......................................... 34007

         Meaning of benefit week .............................................................................. 34008

         Claimant loses other employment or training
         before claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance ....................................................... 34009

         Entitlement ceases before sanction decision made ..................................... 34010

         Fixed period sanctions

         When fixed period sanctions apply .............................................................. 34013

         Length of a fixed period sanction ................................................................. 34014

             One week ................................................................................................ 34015

             Two or four weeks ................................................................................... 34016

             Core Gateway ......................................................................................... 34019

         New Deal sanctions for 26 weeks ................................................................ 34025

         New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over -
         preparation for employment programme based sanctions........................... 34029

         Steps to work sanctions for 26 weeks .......................................................... 34033

         Re-engagement following a steps to work sanction ..................................... 34034

         When a fixed period sanction starts ............................................................. 34036

         Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance payable
         even when there is a 26 week fixed period sanction ................................... 34038

         Sanctions of discretionary length

         When sanctions of discretionary length apply .............................................. 34040



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         Length of the sanction .................................................................................. 34041

             Employment would not have lasted 26 weeks ........................................ 34048

             Claimant loses entitlement to Jobseeker’s
             Allowance whilst sanctioned ................................................................... 34049

             Vacancy is filled before the decision maker considers the case ............. 34050

             Days to be deducted from the sanction period ....................................... 34051

         When sanctions of discretionary length start ............................................... 34054




         Employment lost through misconduct

         Misconduct

         Introduction ................................................................................................... 34060

         Relationship with trade dispute, redundancy and unfair dismissal

         Trade dispute ............................................................................................... 34065

         Redundancy ................................................................................................. 34066

         Unfair dismissal ............................................................................................ 34068

         Industrial Tribunal's finding of facts .............................................................. 34071

         Proof ............................................................................................................ 34075

         Evidence ....................................................................................................... 34077

         Giving the claimant a chance to comment ................................................... 34080

         Whether the claimant acted or failed to act as alleged

         Claimant prosecuted .................................................................................... 34085

         Claimant acquitted........................................................................................ 34086

         Reports of court or employer’s hearings ...................................................... 34087

         Hearsay and eye-witness evidence ............................................................. 34091

         Whether the claimant’s conduct was misconduct .................................. 34105

         Misconduct outside employment .................................................................. 34111

         Instructions not obeyed ................................................................................ 34117

         Failure to follow rules and regulations .......................................................... 34118




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         Trade union membership and activities ....................................................... 34120

         Health and safety ......................................................................................... 34126

         Refusal to do work........................................................................................ 34128

         Refusal to work overtime .............................................................................. 34139

         Refusal on grounds of religion or conscience ............................................. 34145

         Negligence and inefficient work ................................................................... 34149

         Driving offences and road accidents ............................................................ 34158

         Unauthorised absence and lateness ............................................................ 34168

             Looking for other work ............................................................................. 34170

             Time off work under employment protection and trade union law .......... 34171

             Notification of absences .......................................................................... 34173

         Offensive behaviour ..................................................................................... 34178

         Dishonesty .................................................................................................... 34185

         Whether misconduct caused the loss of employment ........................... 34193



         Voluntarily left employment without just
         cause
         Left voluntarily - introduction ................................................................... 34220

         Relationship with trade dispute ................................................................ 34223

         Proof ............................................................................................................ 34226

         Evidence ....................................................................................................... 34228

         Giving the claimant a chance to comment ................................................... 34229

         Trial period

         Introduction ................................................................................................... 34234

         When claimants can benefit from the trial period rule .................................. 34235

             Meaning of work ...................................................................................... 34237

         The effect of a trial period ............................................................................ 34239




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         Whether the claimant left voluntarily

         Meaning of voluntarily .................................................................................. 34241

         Claimants who have no employment ........................................................... 34244

             Women on maternity leave ..................................................................... 34245

             Mariners .................................................................................................. 34246

             Police....................................................................................................... 34247

         Resignation and dismissal ........................................................................... 34251

         Relationship to misconduct .......................................................................... 34253

         Notice cancelled or suspended .................................................................... 34256

         Changing the terms and conditions of employment ..................................... 34259

         The national minimum wage ........................................................................ 34260

         Absence from work....................................................................................... 34262

         Claimants who volunteer for redundancy ..................................................... 34265

             Meaning of redundant ............................................................................. 34267

             British Telecom Newstart scheme .......................................................... 34270

             Meaning of laid off and short-time........................................................... 34272

             Claimants who leave employment early ................................................. 34273

         Just cause

         General ......................................................................................................... 34278

         Caring responsibilities for a child ................................................................. 34285

         Terms and conditions of employment ..................................................... 34289

         Employer changes terms or conditions of employment ............................... 34298

             Police officers .......................................................................................... 34301

         Grievances ................................................................................................... 34303

             Work outside of agreed duties ................................................................ 34306

         Trade dispute .............................................................................................. 34310

         Conditions which conflict with trade union policy ......................................... 34311

         Trade union membership and health and safety .......................................... 34314

         Other terms and conditions which affect a claimant’s personal
         freedom and beliefs ...................................................................................... 34317



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         Short-time and overtime working ................................................................. 34323

         Retirement and resignation .......................................................................... 34329

         Early retirement ............................................................................................ 34332

         Leaving to take better paid or preferred employment .................................. 34333

         Leaving to take up training ........................................................................... 34335

         Personal and domestic circumstances.................................................... 34339

         Moving home ................................................................................................ 34342

             Partner going abroad .............................................................................. 34348

             Moving with parents ................................................................................ 34349

         Financial difficulties ...................................................................................... 34352

         Claimant’s health .......................................................................................... 34356

         Living away from home ................................................................................ 34364

         Long daily journey to work ........................................................................... 34366

         Long or awkward working hours .................................................................. 34369

         Trial period ................................................................................................... 34370

         Chances of getting other employment..................................................... 34379

         Firm offer of other employment .................................................................... 34384




         Refusing employment

         Introduction ................................................................................................ 34388

         Proof ............................................................................................................. 34391

         Notified by an employment officer

         Employment officer....................................................................................... 34394

         Notification .................................................................................................... 34395

             Self-service vacancies ............................................................................ 34399

         Refusal or failure ........................................................................................ 34400

         Claimants change their mind ........................................................................ 34401

         Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage ................................... 34403



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         Good cause - introduction ........................................................................ 34406

         Claimant given incorrect details of employment .......................................... 34408

         Claimants who have good cause

         Claimants who have done training ............................................................... 34413

         Permitted period ........................................................................................... 34421

         Laid off and short-time workers .................................................................... 34422

         Employment of less than 24 hours a week .................................................. 34424

             Shifts or rota systems.............................................................................. 34425

         Claimants who have caring responsibilities or do voluntary work ................ 34427

         Claimants who have caring responsibilities for a child ................................. 34428

         Claimants who provide a service ................................................................. 34429

         Claimants who work and have to give notice ............................................... 34430

         Claimants who do not have to take employment at certain times ................ 34432

         Education based New Deal for 25 year olds and over ................................. 34433

         Anti-social behaviour order .......................................................................... 34434

         Working Time Regulations 1998 .................................................................. 34435

         National minimum wage ............................................................................... 34437

         Claimants who do not have good cause

         Income or outgoings ..................................................................................... 34438

             Exceptions ............................................................................................... 34440

         Travelling time ............................................................................................. 34441

             Exceptions ............................................................................................... 34442

             Each way ................................................................................................. 34443

             Normally .................................................................................................. 34444

             Travelling time ......................................................................................... 34445

             Place of employment ............................................................................... 34448

             Route and means appropriate ................................................................ 34449

             Health and caring responsibilities ........................................................... 34458

         Period of sanction ......................................................................................... 34459




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         Good cause - matters to take into account ............................................. 34465

         Restrictions on availability ............................................................................ 34466

         Significant harm to health or unreasonable physical or mental stress ......... 34468

             Significant harm to health ........................................................................ 34469

             Unreasonable physical or mental stress ................................................. 34475

         Sincere religious or conscientious objection ................................................ 34480

         Caring responsibilities .................................................................................. 34487

             Unreasonable .......................................................................................... 34488

         Travelling time .............................................................................................. 34496

         Employment expenses ................................................................................. 34504

         Child care expenses ..................................................................................... 34507

             Unreasonably high proportion of pay ...................................................... 34510

         Reasons not covered by legislation ............................................................. 34526

             Attitude of claimant’s trade union ............................................................ 34527

             Possible return to previous employment ................................................. 34529

             Decision of Industrial Tribunal awaited ................................................... 34530

             Claimant already working part-time ........................................................ 34533

             Temporary employment .......................................................................... 34536

             Definite chance of other employment ..................................................... 34537

             Personal preference ................................................................................ 34540

             Other more suitable people unemployed ............................................... 34541

             Employment which the claimant has previously left................................ 34543

             Objection to employer or fellow employees ............................................ 34546

             Claimant does not have necessary equipment ....................................... 34550

             Attending a course of study..................................................................... 34552

             Seafarers ................................................................................................. 34554

             Other reasons ......................................................................................... 34558

         Good cause - matters which cannot be taken into account

         Level of pay .................................................................................................. 34561

             Exception................................................................................................. 34562



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         Neglect to avail
         Introduction ................................................................................................ 34566

         Proof ............................................................................................................. 34568

         Qualifying former employment ................................................................. 34569

         Date last worked for employer ..................................................................... 34571

         Date on which sanction question arises ....................................................... 34572

         Meaning of neglect

         Claimant knew about employment, or could have found out ....................... 34573

         Women on maternity leave .......................................................................... 34574

         Unreasonable behaviour .............................................................................. 34575

         Guidance on refusing employment applies .................................................. 34576

         Reasonable opportunity ............................................................................ 34577

         Trial period .................................................................................................. 34581

         Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage ................................... 34582

         Good cause ................................................................................................. 34583



         Refusal or failure to carry out a
         jobseeker’s direction
         Introduction ................................................................................................ 34584

         Proof ............................................................................................................. 34587

         Back to Work Sessions ................................................................................ 34588

         Jobseeker’s direction ................................................................................ 34591

         Claimant does not receive jobseeker’s direction .......................................... 34596

         Refusal or failure ........................................................................................ 34601

         Claimants change their mind ........................................................................ 34602

         Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage ................................... 34606



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         Good cause - refusal relates to the employment .................................... 34607

         Employment of less than 24 hours a week .................................................. 34608

         Period of a sanction...................................................................................... 34609

         National minimum wage ............................................................................... 34610

         Good cause - refusal relates to the jobseeker’s direction itself ........... 34611

         Claimants who do not have good cause - income or outgoings .................. 34612

         Claimants who do not have good cause - travelling time............................. 34615

             Exceptions ............................................................................................... 34616

             Each way ................................................................................................. 34617

             Normally .................................................................................................. 34618

             Travelling time ......................................................................................... 34619

             Route and means appropriate ................................................................ 34621

             Health and caring responsibilities ........................................................... 34624

         Good cause - matters to take into account

             Significant harm to health or unreasonable physical or
             mental stress ........................................................................................... 34626

             Sincere religious or conscientious objection ........................................... 34627

             Caring responsibilities ............................................................................. 34628

             Caring responsibilities for a child ............................................................ 34629

             Travelling time ......................................................................................... 34631

             Expenses................................................................................................. 34636

             Reasons not covered by legislation ........................................................ 34641



         Sanctions - members of Her Majesty’s
         Forces and share fishermen
         Members of Her Majesty’s Forces

         Leaving voluntarily........................................................................................ 34644

         Misconduct ................................................................................................... 34645

         Neglect to avail ............................................................................................. 34648

         Share fishermen ......................................................................................... 34649



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         Training scheme and employment
         programme sanctions
         Introduction ................................................................................................ 34651

         Meaning of training scheme and employment programme .......................... 34653

             Training scheme ...................................................................................... 34654

             Employment programme ......................................................................... 34659

             Steps to work .......................................................................................... 34661

             Work experience ..................................................................................... 34666

         Misconduct ................................................................................................. 34681

         Giving up or failing to attend

         Burden of proof ............................................................................................. 34683

         Evidence ....................................................................................................... 34684

         Giving the claimant a chance to comment ................................................... 34685

         Whether the claimant has given up or failed to attend a
         scheme or programme ................................................................................. 34687

             Relationship with dismissal ..................................................................... 34689

             Claimants who have no scheme or programme ..................................... 34690

         Good cause .................................................................................................. 34691

         Refusal of a scheme................................................................................... 34701

         Neglect to avail of a scheme or programme ........................................... 34703

         Good cause

         Claimants who have good cause

             Disease or physical or mental disablement ............................................ 34706

             Sincere religious or conscientious objection ........................................... 34709

             Travelling time ......................................................................................... 34710

             Caring responsibilities ............................................................................. 34712

             Attendance at court ................................................................................. 34714

             Arranging or attending a funeral ............................................................ 34715




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             Lifeboat crew or part-time firefighter ....................................................... 34716

             Domestic emergencies ............................................................................ 34717

             Emergency duties ................................................................................... 34718

             Health and safety at risk .......................................................................... 34719

             Anti-social behaviour order, community order or community
             disposal ................................................................................................... 34720

             New Deal options .................................................................................... 34721

             New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over - qualifying course................ 34723

             New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over -
             preparation for employment programme................................................. 34725

             Good cause for employment programme ............................................... 34726

         Steps to work - good cause .......................................................................... 34727

         Work experience - good cause .................................................................... 34729

         Good cause - matters to take into account .................................................. 34736

             Scheme or programme left because of a grievance ............................... 34737

             Person doing other training or part-time study ........................................ 34851



         Young people
         Introduction ................................................................................................... 34851

         Meaning of young person ............................................................................. 34853

         Young people who have a severe hardship direction in force ..................... 34856

         Good cause

         Good cause for training schemes ................................................................ 34859

             Meaning of new jobseeker ...................................................................... 34861

         Good cause for refusing employment or neglecting a
         reasonable opportunity of employment ........................................................ 34869

             Meaning of suitable training .................................................................... 34871




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         Amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance
         payable to a joint claim couple

         Both members of a joint claim couple are sanctioned ........................... 34951

         One member of a joint claim couple is sanctioned ................................ 34956




Volume 6 Amendment 35                                                                     June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                    Statutes




         Statutes commonly referred to in Chapter
         34
         Full Title                                          Abbreviation

         Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland)             The No.1 Order
         Order 1976

         Industrial Relations (No.2) (Northern Ireland)      The No.2 Order
         Order 1976

         Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland)   SSA (NI) Act 92
         Act 1992

         Jobseeker’s (Northern Ireland) Order 1995           JS (NI) Order 95

         Employment Rights (Northern Ireland)                ER (NI) Order 96
         Order 1996

         Social Security (Northern Ireland) Order 1998       SS (NI) Order 98




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                  April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                  Statutory Rules




         Statutory Rules commonly referred to in
         Chapter 34
         Short Title           Full Title                        Abbreviation

         Decision Making       The Social Security and           SS & CS (D&A)
         and Appeals           Child Support (Decisions and      Regs (NI)
         Regulations           Appeals) Regulations (Northern
                               Ireland) 1999 No.162

         Claims and            The Social Security (Claims       SS (C&P) Regs (NI)
         Payments              and Payments) Regulations
         Regulations           (Northern Ireland) 1987 No.465

         Jobseeker’s           The Jobseeker’s Allowance         JSA Regs (NI)
         Allowance             Regulations (Northern Ireland)
         Regulations           1996 No.198

         Jobseeker’s           The Social Security and Child     SS & CS (JSA)
         Allowance             Support (Jobseeker’s Allowance)   (Misc Amdt)
         (NI) (Miscellaneous   (Miscellaneous Amendments)        Regs (NI)
         Amendments)           Regulations (Northern Ireland)
         Regulations           1996 No.503

         Members of the        The Social Security Benefit       SS Ben (Members
         Forces                (Members of the Forces)           of the Forces) Regs
         Regulations           Regulations 1975 No.493




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Decision Makers Guide                                                             Introduction




         Chapter 34 - Sanctions

         Sanctions - introduction and period

         Introduction
34001    The guidance on sanctions applies to both contribution-based Jobseeker’s
         Allowance and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance but not Income Support.
         Guidance on special rules for sanctions in relation to New Deal is in DMG Chapter
         14. Throughout this Chapter, the term “claimant” refers to a claimant or a member
         of a joint claim couple, unless otherwise stated.

34002    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76] A decision maker imposes a sanction on a claimant if
                                                             1
         the claimant is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and
                                                                              2
         1.     lost employment through misconduct (see DMG 34060 - 34199)
                                                                                         3
         2.     left employment voluntarily without just cause (see DMG 34220 - 34386)

         3.     refused or failed to apply for or accept employment without good cause (see
                                     4
                DMG 34388 - 34562)

         4.     neglected a reasonable opportunity of employment without good cause (see
                                     5
                DMG 34566 - 34583)

         5.     refused or failed to carry out any reasonable jobseeker’s direction (see DMG
                                 6
                34584 - 34643)

         6.     lost a place on a training scheme or employment programme through
                                                       7
                misconduct (see DMG 34681 - 34682)

         7.     gave up a place on a training scheme or employment programme without
                                                       8
                good cause (see DMG 34683 - 34691)

         8.     failed to attend a training scheme or employment programme without good
                                                 9
                cause (see DMG 34683 - 34691)

         9.     refused or failed to apply for or accept a place on a training scheme or
                                                                                      10
                employment programme without good cause (see DMG 34701 - 34702)

         10.    neglected a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme or
                                                                                      11
                employment programme without good cause (see DMG 34703 - 34704) .




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         Note: Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable in certain non attendance situations
         (see DMG Chapter 20).
                        1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & 22A(1); 2 art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d); 3 art 21(6)(b) & 22A(2)(e);
                                      4 art 21(6)(c) & 22A(2)(f); 5 art 21(6)(d) & 22A(2)(g); 6 art 21(5)(a) & 22A(2)(a);
                       7 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c); 8 art 21(5)(b)(iii) & 22A(2)(b)(iii); 9 art 21(5)(b)(iv) & 22A(2)(b)(iv);
                                                      10 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii); 11 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i)


34003    Hardship payments can be made in some circumstances. There are different rules
         for young people (see DMG 34851 et seq).                            There are special rules for Her
         Majesty’s Forces and share fishermen (see DMG 34644 - 34649).


         Claimants who get a training allowance
34004    If a decision maker imposes a sanction on claimants they will still get income-based
                                                1
         Jobseeker’s Allowance if they
                                                                                2
         1.      receive a training allowance (see DMG 21554) and

         2.      continue to satisfy the conditions of entitlement to income-based Jobseeker’s
                 Allowance except the conditions of being available, actively seeking
                                                                                            3
                 employment and having a valid jobseeker’s agreement .
                                                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 74A; 2 reg 1(2); 3 reg 168



         New Deal for 18- 24 year olds
34005    Where claimants have been in

         1.      the employed employment option of New Deal for 18-24 year olds, a variable
                 sanction applies (see DMG 34040 et seq)

         2.      the

                 2.1        self-employed employment option or

                 2.2        environment task force option or

                 2.3        full-time education and training option or

                 2.4        voluntary sector option

         of the New Deal for 18-24 year olds, a fixed sanction period applies (see DMG
         34014 et seq).

         34006


         More than one sanctionable offence committed
34007    If a claimant has committed more than one sanctionable offence - for example, left
         employment voluntarily and then refused employment, each offence which leads to


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Decision Makers Guide                                                                   Introduction



         a sanction question should be treated separately, even if this means that a period of
                                              1
         sanction overlaps a previous sanction (see guidance at DMG 4587).
                                                                1 SS & CS (D&A) Regs (NI), reg 6(2)(f)


         Example 1

         Jack Todd is sacked on 1.11.96 for bad time-keeping and claims Jobseeker’s
         Allowance. He is paid Jobseeker’s Allowance up to and including 5.12.96, and the
         decision maker imposes a sanction of 20 weeks from 6.12.96 to 24.4.97 inclusive
         for which no Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable. Jack continues to attend at the
         Jobs and Benefits Office as required, then refuses employment on 3.1.97 without
         good cause. On 8.1.97 the decision maker decides to impose a sanction of 17
         weeks. This will start on 10.1.97 and end on 8.5.97.

         Example 2

         Pauline Wayne is sacked on 1.11.96 for bad time-keeping and claims Jobseeker’s
         Allowance. She is paid Jobseeker’s Allowance up to and including 5.12.96, and the
         decision maker imposes a sanction of 20 weeks from 6.12.96 to 24.4.97 inclusive
         for which Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable at hardship rate. Pauline continues to
         attend at the Jobs and Benefits Office as required, then refuses employment on
         3.1.97 without good cause. On 8.1.97 the decision maker decides to impose a
         sanction of 17 weeks. This will start on 10.1.97 and end on 8.5.97.


         Meaning of benefit week
                                                                                                  1
34008    Throughout this Chapter, wherever the phrase “benefit week” is used it means a
         period of seven days ending with the day determined by the last two digits of the
         claimant’s National Insurance number as is shown in the following table unless the
         Department arranges otherwise

         National Insurance number          Day

         00 – 19                            Monday

         20 – 39                            Tuesday

         40 – 59                            Wednesday

         60 – 79                            Thursday

         80 – 99                            Friday
                                                                             1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 1(2)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                     June 2012
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         Claimant loses other employment or training before
         claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance
34009    Where a claimant leaves or is dismissed from employment but has a second period
         of employment before claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, a sanction for the loss of the
         previous employment cannot be imposed. This is because the claim to Jobseeker’s
         Allowance arises from the loss of the second employment rather than the first.

         Example

         Terry walks out of his job on 10.10.03. He finds a new job which he starts on
         27.10.03.      He does not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance for the period 11.10.03 -
         26.10.03.      The new job is temporary and ends on 14.11.03.          Terry claims
         Jobseeker’s Allowance from 17.11.03. No sanction can be imposed in respect of
         the first job because Terry had a further period of employment before claiming
         Jobseeker’s Allowance.

         Note: This only applies to the loss of a previous employment. Where a claimant
         left a training or employment programme, a sanction can still be imposed in respect
         of the programme even if the claimant spent an intervening period in a job before
         claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.


         Entitlement ceases before sanction decision made
34010    A sanction cannot be imposed for leaving voluntarily or misconduct except when a
         claim has been made and then only in respect of the most recent employment prior
         to that claim. This means that when a sanction decision has not been made and the
         Jobseeker’s Allowance award comes to an end, a sanction can only be imposed on
         the subsequent claim if there has not been a further period of employment.

         Example 1

         Ann leaves her job in a factory on 23.3.09 and makes a claim to Jobseeker’s
         Allowance on 25.3.09. On 27.4.09 she starts a new job in a shop and her award of
         Jobseeker’s Allowance comes to an end. The shop job ends on 8.5.09 so Ann
         makes a new claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance on 11.5.09. As a sanction decision
         had not been made on the earlier claim a sanction cannot be imposed on the new
         claim for the loss of her employment at the factory.

         Example 2

         Stuart is dismissed from his job on 27.2.09 and makes a claim to Jobseeker’s
         Allowance on 2.3.09. On 20.4.09 he goes abroad and his Jobseeker’s Allowance




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                 June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                                 Introduction



         award comes to an end. Stuart makes a new claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance on his
         return from abroad on 7.5.09. A sanction decision had not been made on the earlier
         claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance but, as there has been no further period of
         employment a sanction can be imposed on the new claim for the loss of his first
                        1
         employment .
                                                                    1 CJSA/3304/99 & CJSA/3967/2007


34011    If a sanction has been imposed it will continue to apply through any subsequent
         awards until the expiry of the sanction period.

         Example

         Jake is sanctioned for leaving his employment voluntarily for the period 23.2.09 to
         3.7.09. On 27.4.09 he starts a temporary job and his Jobseeker’s Allowance award
         comes to an end.        The temporary job ends and Jake makes a new claim to
         Jobseeker’s Allowance on 1.6.09.        As this is still within the sanction period
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable until 4.7.09.

34012    Where a claimant has two jobs and loses one of them a sanction can be imposed if
         the Jobseeker’s Allowance claim results from the loss of that job.

         Example 1

         Danny has two jobs, one of which ends on 19.9.03 and the other on 21.11.03. He
         claims Jobseeker’s Allowance from 24.11.03.          No sanction can be imposed in
         respect of the first job.

         Example 2

         Daphne has two jobs. She leaves one and then claims Jobseeker’s Allowance,
         declaring her other job as part-time work. A sanction can be considered in respect
         of the first job.

         Example 3

         Diana has two jobs, one of which ends on 7.11.03 and the other on 13.11.03. As
         she worked in both jobs simultaneously and left both at around the same time, a
         sanction can be considered in respect of both jobs.




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         Fixed period sanctions

         When fixed period sanctions apply
         [See DMG Memo Vol 4/110 & 6/71] [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76]

34013    Where a decision maker has decided to impose a sanction on a claimant because
         the claimant

         1.     refused or failed to carry out any reasonable jobseeker’s direction (DMG
                               1
                34584 - 34643) or

         2.     lost a place on a training scheme or employment programme through
                                                            2
                misconduct (see DMG 34681 - 34682) or

         3.     gave up a place on a training scheme or employment programme without
                                                            3
                good cause (see DMG 34683 - 34691) or

         4.     failed to attend a training scheme or employment programme without good
                                                    4
                cause (see DMG 34683 - 34691) or

         5.     refused or failed to apply for or accept a place on a training scheme or
                                                                                                          5
                employment programme without good cause (see DMG 34701 - 34702) or

         6.     neglected a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme or
                                                                                                          6
                employment programme without good cause (see DMG 34703 - 34704)

                                                                              7
         the decision maker should impose a fixed period sanction .
                                       1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(5)(a) & 22A(2)(a); 2 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c);
                                             3 art 21(5)(b)(iii) & 22A(2)(b)(iii); 4 art 21(5)(b)(iv) 22A(2)(b)(iv);
                                              5 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii); 6 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i);
                                                                                              7 art 21(2) & 22A(3)



         Length of a fixed period sanction
                                                                                        1
34014    A fixed period sanction lasts for either 2, 4 or 26 benefit weeks . But special rules
         apply to young people (see DMG 34851 et seq).
                                          1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(2) & 22A(3); JSA Regs (NI), reg 69 & 75(3)



         One week

34015    A fixed period sanction of one week applies to any claimant who refuses or fails to
         follow a jobseeker’s direction given by an employment officer to attend or take part
                                      1
         in a Back to Work Session .       The one week sanction will apply each time the
         claimant without good cause, refuses or fails to follow such a jobseeker’s direction.
                                                                                     1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(f)



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         Two or four weeks
                                                1
34016    A sanction of two benefit weeks should be imposed unless the sanction

         1.     does not relate to a Core Gateway offence and

         2.     is for

                2.1      for a New Deal option offence, and a previous New Deal sanction
                         started within the twelve month period before the date the decision
                                                                          2
                         maker decides to impose a sanction or

                2.2      for a preparation for employment programme offence, and a previous
                         preparation for employment programme sanction started within the
                         twelve month period before the date the decision maker decides to
                                                    3
                         impose a sanction or

                2.3      for any other offence and the claimant has been sanctioned within the
                         12 month period before the date the decision maker decides to
                                                                                                      4
                         impose a sanction for one of the reasons in DMG 34013

                2.4      for a steps to work offence, and a previous steps to work sanction
                         started within the twelve month period before the date the decision
                                                                          5
                         maker decides to impose a sanction

         in which case a sanction of four weeks should be imposed.
                            1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(a); 2 reg 69(1)(b)(ii)(bb) & (iii); 3 reg 69(1)(b)(ii)(cc) & (iii);
                                                               4 reg 69(1)(b)(i) & (ii)(aa); 5 reg 69(1)(b)(ii)(dd)(iii)


         Example

         Seamus is sanctioned for two weeks in May for refusing to go on a New Deal 18-24
         option. In August the decision maker decides that Seamus has refused employment
         and cannot show good cause. A sanction of 4 weeks is imposed.

34017    To decide whether to sanction for two or four weeks the decision maker must
         establish the date of the determination that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable
         and understand the relationship between that date and the first day of any sanction
         period imposed by a previous determination.

34018    Complications may arise when two or more determinations are given within a short
         period of time (or even on the same date) and the date on which the second
                                                                                                            1
         determination is given is earlier than the start date of the first sanction . In this
         situation, if the first sanction is for two weeks the second sanction will also be for a
         two week period.
                                                                                       1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(b)(iii)




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         Example

         John is a Jobseeker's Allowance claimant and his benefit week ends on a Tuesday.
         On Wednesday 1 March 2000, a decision maker determines that Jobseeker's
         Allowance is not payable to John because of an offence relating to a jobseeker’s
         direction. This is a first offence, so the period of sanction is of two weeks duration,
         and begins on Wednesday 8 March (the first day of the benefit week following the
         date of the determination).

         On Friday 3 March, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker's Allowance is not payable to John because of a second offence relating
         to a jobseeker’s direction. The first date on which Jobseeker's Allowance was not
         payable to him on the previous occasion is 8 March. This does not fall within the
         period of twelve months preceding the date of the second determination (3 March).
         The duration of the second of sanction is, therefore, two weeks, and it will also start
         on 8 March.

         If a second determination is given at any time after the first determination, but on or
         before the first date of the sanction period imposed by the first determination, the
         second determination will also impose a two week sanction.

         In these circumstances the third sanction, if it meets the 12 month test, will be for 26
         weeks.


         Core Gateway
                                                                                                1
34019    A fixed period sanction relating to a Core Gateway offence is always two weeks .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(a)


34020    Although a jobseeker’s direction will not normally be used to make claimants attend
         a Core Gateway course, if it is used, a two week sanction will apply in every case
         because Jobseeker's Allowance is determined not to be payable in circumstances
         relating to the employment programme known as Core Gateway.

                                                  1
34021    A fixed period sanction for any reason , other than a sanction relating to a New
                        2                                                                            3
         Deal option , preparation for employment programme for those aged 25 and over ,
                            4                                      5
         or Core Gateway offence, will be for four weeks, where

         1.     the claimant has previously been sanctioned for a Core Gateway offence and

         2.     the second offence does not relate to a New Deal option or preparation for
                employment programme or steps to work




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         3.     the date the Core Gateway sanction began falls within the twelve month
                period before the date the decision maker decides to impose a sanction.
                                         1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(5); 2 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(a)(i) to (iii);
                                                         3 reg 75(1)(a)(v); 4 reg 75(1)(a)(iv); 5 reg 69(1)(b)


         Example 1

         James is a Jobseeker's Allowance claimant and his benefit week ends on a
         Tuesday.

         On Wednesday 5 July, a decision maker determines that Jobseeker's Allowance is
         not payable to James because of failure to comply with a jobseeker’s direction to
         attend a Core Gateway course. This is a Core Gateway offence, so the period of
         sanction is of two weeks length, and begins on Wednesday 12 July (the first day of
         the benefit week following the date of the determination).

         On Thursday 13 July, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker's Allowance is not payable to James because of a failure to attend a
         Core Gateway course. The first date on which Jobseeker's Allowance was not
         payable to him on the previous occasion is 12 July. This falls within the period of
         twelve months preceding the date of the second determination. However, because
         the second offence is also a Core Gateway offence, the length of the second period
         of sanction is two weeks.

         Example 2

         Jenny is a Jobseeker's Allowance claimant and her benefit week ends on a
         Thursday.

         On Thursday 6 July, a decision maker determines that Jobseeker's Allowance is not
         payable to Jenny because she gave up a place on a Core Gateway course. This is
         a Core Gateway offence, so the period of sanction is of two weeks length, and
         begins on Friday 7 July (the first day of the benefit week following the date of the
         determination).

         On Thursday 13 July, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker's Allowance is not payable to Jenny because of a failure to carry out a
         jobseeker’s direction.   The first date on which Jobseeker's Allowance was not
         payable to her on the previous occasion is 7 July. This falls within the period of
         twelve months preceding the date of the second determination.                         Because the
         second sanction is not for a Core Gateway offence, the length of the sanction is four
         weeks.




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         Example 3

         Samantha is a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant and her benefit week ends on a
         Thursday.

         On Thursday 6 July, a decision maker determines that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not
         payable to Samantha because she gave up a place on a Core Gateway course.
         This is a Core Gateway offence, so the period of sanction is of two weeks length,
         and begins on Friday 7 July (the first day of the benefit week following the date of
         the determination).

         On Thursday 13 July, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to Samantha because of a failure to attend a
         New Deal option. The first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not payable to
         her on the previous occasion is 7 July. This falls within the period of 12 months
         preceding the date of the second determination. However, because the second
         sanction is not for a Core Gateway offence but is for a New Deal option the length of
         the sanction is two weeks.

         34022 – 34024


         New Deal sanctions for 26 weeks
34025    For a 26 week sanction to apply there should have been 2 previous sanctions (see
         guidance at DMG 34018).

34026    The decision maker should decide that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable for 26
                    1
         weeks if

         1.     they determine that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to claimants
                because they committed a New Deal sanctionable offence on or after 6.3.00
                and

         2.     the claimant has previously been sanctioned two or more times for a New
                Deal offence and

         3.     there is not more than twelve months between the date the determination in
                1. was given and the start date of the last four or 26 week sanction for a New
                Deal offence given before the determination in 1..

         Note: Failure to comply with a jobseeker’s direction can never be a New Deal
         offence.
                                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(c)


34027    The critical factors are that a 26 week sanction applies only where




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                                                                                                         1
         1.     the previous sanction was a four week sanction for a New Deal offence ,or a
                                                              2
                26 week sanction for a New Deal offence and

         2.     no more than twelve months have elapsed between the start date of the
                previous sanction and the day on which the latest determination is being
                        3
                made .
                                       1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(b)(ii)(bb); 2 reg 69(1)(c); 3 reg 69(1)(c)(iii)


34028    It can be seen that the wording in DMG 34027 above does not require the start date
         of the previous sanction to have been within the period of twelve months preceding
         the start date of the latest determination. It merely stipulates that not more than
         twelve months must have elapsed between the two dates.

         Example

         Jenny is a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant and her benefit week ends on a
         Thursday. On Tuesday 2 May 2000, a decision maker determines that Jobseeker’s
         Allowance is not payable to Jenny because of a New Deal for 18-24 year olds
         offence. This is her first New Deal offence, so the period of sanction is of two weeks
         duration (5 May to 18 May), and begins on Friday 5 May (the first day of the benefit
         week following the date of the determination).

         On Friday 5 May, the decision maker makes another determination that Jobseeker’s
         Allowance is not payable to Jenny because of a second New Deal for 18-24 year
         olds offence. This first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not payable to her
         on the previous occasion is 5 May. This does not fall within the period of twelve
         months preceding the date of the second determination (5 May). The duration of
         the second period of sanction is, therefore, two weeks (12 May to 25 May), and it
         will start on 12 May (the first day of the benefit week following the date of the
         determination).

         On Wednesday 17 May, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to Jenny because of a third New Deal for 18-
         24 year olds offence.    The first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not
         payable to her on the previous occasion is 12 May. This does fall within the twelve
         months preceding the date of the third determination (17 May), but there has not yet
         been a sanction under regulation 69(1)(b)(ii)(bb) or 69(1)(c)(i). The duration of the
         third period of the sanction cannot, therefore, be for 26 weeks, but will be for four
         weeks (19 May to 15 June).

         On Thursday 18 May, the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to Jenny because of a fourth New Deal for 18-
         24 year olds offence.    The first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not
         payable to her on the previous occasion is 19 May and no more than twelve months



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         have elapsed between that date (19 May) and the date of the fourth determination
         (18 May). There has been a sanction under regulation 69(1)(ii)(bb). The duration of
         the fourth period of sanction (19 May to 16 November) is therefore 26 weeks.

         Any further sanction for a New Deal for 18-24 year olds offence which is determined
         on any date which is not more than twelve months after the start of the 26 week
         sanction, will be for over 26 weeks.


         New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over - preparation
         for employment programme based sanctions
34029    If a claimant

                                                                                           1
         1.      loses a place on the preparation for employment programme                      through
                 misconduct or

         2.      having been notified by an employment officer of a place, without good cause

                 2.1     gives up or fails to attend or

                 2.2     refuses or fails to apply for or

                 2.3     refuses when offered or

                 2.4     neglects to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of a place on
                         the preparation for employment programme

         the decision maker should impose a sanction for 2, 4 or 26 weeks.
                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2A), 75(1)(a)(v)

         Note:     See DMG Chapter 14 for guidance on preparation for employment
         programmes.

34030    Where a claimant is sanctioned for the first time for an offence relating to the
         preparation for employment programme, the length of sanction should be for two
                         1
         benefit weeks . This is the case even if there has been an earlier sanction for an
         offence relating to

         1.      an employment programme or

         2.      a training scheme or

         3.      a jobseeker’s direction or

         4.      a New Deal for 18-24 year olds option

         within the twelve months before the decision maker decides to impose a sanction
         relating to the preparation for employment programme.
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(a)




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34031    If there is a second offence relating to the preparation for employment programme
         and

         1.     the claimant has previously been sanctioned for a preparation for employment
                programme offence and

         2.     the first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not payable on that
                previous occasion falls within twelve months preceding the date on which the
                decision maker determines that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable for the
                new offence

                                                              1
         a sanction of four benefit weeks should be imposed .
                                                                     1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(b)(ii)(cc)


34032    If there is any further offence relating to the Preparation for Employment Programme
         and

         1.     the claimant has previously been sanctioned on two or more occasions for an
                offence relating to the Preparation for Employment Programme offence and

         2.     the first date on which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not payable for the new
                offence falls within twelve months of the first date on which Jobseeker’s
                Allowance was not payable for the most recent previous offence

                                                     1
         a sanction of 26 weeks should be imposed .
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(d)



         Steps to work sanctions for 26 weeks
34033    The decision maker should decide that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable for 26
                    1
         weeks if

         1.    they determine that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to a claimant
                because they committed a sanctionable offence relating to steps to work on
                or after 5.10.09 and

         2.    the claimant has previously been sanctioned two or more times for a steps to
                work offence and

         3.    there is not more than 12 months between the date the determination in 1.
                was given and the start date of the last four or 26 week sanction for a steps to
                work offence given before the determination in 1..
                                                                            1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1)(e)




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         Example

         Rory is a Jobseeker’s Allowance claimant whose benefit week ends on a Tuesday.
         On Monday 1.2.10 the decision maker determines that Jobseeker’s Allowance is not
         payable to Rory as he refused to accept a place on a steps to work programme. As
         this is a first offence the sanction is for two weeks and begins on 3.2.10 (the first day
         of the benefit week following the date of the determination).

         On Tuesday 23.3.10 the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable because of failure to attend a steps to work
         programme. As this is a second offence the sanction is for four weeks beginning on
         24.3.10. On Monday 8.11.10 the decision maker makes another determination that
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable to Rory because of a third steps to work
         offence. The duration of the third sanction will be 26 weeks as no more than 12
         months have elapsed between the date of the most recent sanction, 24.3.10, and
         the date of this third determination, 8.11.10, and there have been two or more steps
         to work offences.


         Re-engagement following a steps to work sanction
34034    Where a 26 week sanction has been imposed and the claimant

         1.    agrees to take part in steps to work activities set out in an action plan and

         2.    signs a statement to signify their agreement

                                        1
         the sanction will be amended .
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69


34035    The amended sanction will be the longer of

         1.    4 weeks or

         2.    the period, not exceeding 26 weeks, to the end of the benefit week in which
                the claimant agrees in writing to re-engage with the steps to work activities
                                            1
                specified in the action plan .
                                                                      1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(1A) & (1B)


         Example

         James fails to attend an appointment with his steps to work provider on 1.3.10 and
         the provider raises a sanction doubt. The decision maker considers if there is good
         cause for not attending the interview and decides there is not, so a sanction
         decision is made on 5.3.10 for failing to attend.




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         As James already had 2 previous steps to work sanctions within the last 12 months
         this sanction is for 26 weeks and runs from the start of his next benefit week which
         is 11.3.10. While the decision maker has been considering the referral, the provider
         has made another appointment for James which he has attended and he has
         agreed in writing to take part in the activities in his action plan. However even
         though James has now re-engaged with steps to work activity he must still serve 4
         weeks of the sanction period, 11.3.10 to 7.4.10.


         When a fixed period sanction starts
34036    Once the decision maker has decided a fixed period sanction is appropriate, and the
         length of that sanction, then the decision maker has to decide when the fixed period
         sanction is to start from.

34037    A fixed period sanction begins on

         1.      the first day of the benefit week following the date on which the decision
                                                             1
                 maker decides to sanction the claimant or
                                                                                             2
         2.      if Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid other than fortnightly in arrears , the first day
                 of the benefit week following the benefit week for which Jobseeker’s
                                          3
                 Allowance was last paid .

         Note:     Fixed period sanctions can be applied no matter how long after the
         sanctionable offence is committed the claimant becomes entitled to Jobseeker’s
         Allowance.
                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(2)(b) & 75(3); 2 SS (C&P) Regs (NI), reg 26A(1);
                                                                   3 SS & CS (D&A) Regs (NI), reg 6(2)(f) & 7(8)

         Example 1

         A decision maker decides on Friday 06.12.96 to impose a sanction on Eve Roberts
         for 2 weeks for refusing a place on an employment programme.                         Eve regularly
         attends the Social Security Office/Jobs and Benefits Office, having been given a
         notice (JS40) to do so, on a Monday. Her benefit week is therefore Tuesday to
         Monday.      The sanction will therefore begin on Tuesday 10.12.96 and end on
         Monday 23.12.96.

         Example 2

         On 22.1.97 Joan Willis leaves a training scheme early without good cause. She
         goes abroad on holiday for 5 weeks, and claims Jobseeker’s Allowance on 27.2.97.
         She is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance from and including 2.3.97, and has a
         Wednesday benefit week ending.




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         On 18.3.97 the decision maker looks at Joan's case and decides that a sanction is
         appropriate.

         The sanction starts on 20.3.97.

         Example 3

         On 28.1.97 Joe Blake is dismissed from a training scheme for misconduct, but does
         not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance as he gets a job. The job lasts until 8.4.97, when
         Joe is made redundant. On 9.4.97 he claims Jobseeker’s Allowance, and is entitled
         to Jobseeker’s Allowance from and including 12.4.97. He has a Wednesday benefit
         week ending.

         On 16.4.97 the decision maker looks at Joe's case and decides to impose a
         sanction for being dismissed from the training scheme. The sanction starts from
         17.4.97.


         Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance payable even
         when there is a 26 week fixed period sanction
                                                      1
34038    Where a claimant has been sanctioned , income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is
                                                          2
         still payable for the period in DMG 34039 if

         1.    a fixed period sanction of 26 weeks is imposed for the first time and

         2.    the Department gives notice in writing to the claimant that they are no longer
                required to participate in the

               2.1      self-employed employment option or

               2.2      voluntary sector option or

               2.3      environment task force option or

               2.4      full-time education and training option of New Deal for 18-24 year olds
                        or

               2.5      preparation for employment programme of the New Deal claimants
                        aged 25 years and over

               2.6      steps to work employment programme.

         Note: If another fixed 26 week sanction is imposed, income-based Jobseeker’s
         Allowance is no longer payable in respect of the first 26 week sanction period.
                                                     1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21 & 22; 2 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(3)

                                                                                            1
34039    The period for which income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable

         1.    begins on the later of




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               1.1      the date specified in the notice at DMG 34038 2. as being the date on
                        which the claimant is no longer required to participate or

               1.2      the day four weeks after the first day on which Jobseeker’s Allowance
                        was not payable as in DMG 34038 1. and

         2.    ends on the last day of the period for which Jobseeker’s Allowance was not
                payable as in DMG 34038 1..

         Note: If the claimant is again sanctioned for any reason, income-based Jobseeker’s
                                                                               2
         Allowance ceases to be payable for the period of that sanction .
                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 69(4)(a) & (b); 2 reg 69(4)(c)




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         Sanctions of discretionary length

         When sanctions of discretionary length apply

34040    Where a decision maker has decided to impose a sanction on a claimant because
         the claimant
                                                                                                   1
         1.     lost employment through misconduct (see DMG 34060 - 34199) or
                                                                                                              2
         2.     left employment voluntarily without just cause (see DMG 34220 - 34386) or

         3.     refused or failed to apply for or accept employment without good cause (see
                                          3
                DMG 34388 - 34562) or

         4.     neglected a reasonable opportunity of employment without good cause (see
                                          4
                DMG 34566 - 34583)

         the length of the sanction is set by the decision maker and is in his discretion,
                                                       5
         subject to the maximum of 26 weeks . A week in DMG 34040 - 34058 means any
                                              6
         period of 7 consecutive days .
                    1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d); 2 art 21(6)(b) & 22A(2)(e); 3 art 21(6)(c)22A(2)(f);
                                         4 art 21(6)(d) & 22A(2)(g); 5 art 21(3) & 22A(4); 6 JSA Regs (NI), reg75(2)



         Length of the sanction
                                                                       1
34041    The decision maker cannot impose a sanction for

         1.     more than 26 weeks or

         2.     less than 1 week.
                                                                               1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(3) & 22A(4)


34042    If a decision maker decides on a sanction of one day or more but less than one
         week because

         1.     of deductions from the sanction period (see DMG 34051 - 34053) or

         2.     of how long the employment was due to last (see DMG 34044 4.) or

         3.     of when the claimant was due to be taken back, if the dismissal was for
                misconduct (see DMG 34044 5.) or

         4.     that the claimant had another job to go to, but left the first job earlier than
                necessary (see DMG 34386)

         a sanction of one week should be imposed.




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         Note: Decision makers should apply all of points 1. to 4. before deciding if there is
         a sanction of at least one day. If there are no days of sanction the decision maker
         should decide not to sanction.

         Example 1

         Ruth leaves her job voluntarily, without just cause.

         The employer confirms that the job was only due to last for another 4 days after she
         left.

         The decision maker takes that into account, but has to impose a sanction for 1
         week.

         Example 2

         David leaves his job voluntarily without just cause, and waits three days before
         claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance.

         The employer confirms that the job was only due to last for one day after he left.

         A sanction of one day is appropriate, but after deducting the three days when David
         did not get Jobseeker’s Allowance because he did not claim it, there is no sanction
         period. The decision maker decides not to sanction.

34043    As well as the guidance in DMG 34044 - 34052 there is also guidance on
         circumstances which the decision maker should take into account when deciding the
         length of the period in

         1.      DMG 34060 - 34199 (Misconduct)

         2.      DMG 34220 - 34386 (Leaving voluntarily)

         3.      DMG 34388 - 34562 (Refusing employment)

         4.      DMG 34566 - 34583 (Neglect to avail).

34044    The decision maker should take into account all the circumstances of the case when
                                           1
         deciding the length of a sanction . In particular the decision maker should consider
         the following points when deciding the length of a sanction

         1.      decision makers have complete discretion to decide the length of the
                 sanction, provided they do so fairly and impartially, having given the claimant
                 a chance to provide information and evidence and having considered any
                                                                     2
                 information and evidence the claimant offers them

         2.      it is wrong to say that the only 2 approaches to deciding the period of a
                 sanction are by starting at 26 weeks and working down or by starting at 1
                                       3
                 week and working up



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         3.     the decision maker should use a sensible discretion in such a manner as the
                                                   4
                justice of the case requires

         4.     where the employment would have lasted less than 26 weeks, the length it
                                               5
                was likely to have lasted (DMG 34048) and

         5.     where

               5.1          the claimant lost employment through misconduct and

               5.2          the employer indicated that the claimant will be taken back on

                                                                        6
                the date the claimant is to be taken back on and

         6.     where

               6.1          the claimant has left employment voluntarily without just cause and

               6.2          the hours of work in that employment were 16 hours or less a week
                            (the guidance at DMG 34425 should be applied to decide the effect of
                            rota or shift patterns)

                                                                                                        7
                the rate of pay and hours of work in the employment the claimant left and

         7.     where the claimant

               7.1          left employment voluntarily without just cause or

               7.2          neglected a reasonable opportunity of employment without good cause

                any physical or mental stress connected with the employment that gave some
                                                          8
                justification for leaving/neglecting

         8.     there is no burden of proof on the claimant to show that there are
                                                                                                9
                circumstances justifying a reduction in the period of a sanction .
                1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(4); JSA Regs (NI), reg 70; 2 R(U) 8/74(T); 3 R(U) 8/74(T); 4 R(U) 8/74(T);
                                    5 JSA Regs (NI), reg 70(a); 6 reg 70(b); 7 reg 70(c); 8 reg 70(d); 9 R(U) 8/74(T)


34045    Although the points at DMG 34044 1., 2., 3. and 8. were decided at a time when the
         minimum period of a sanction (then a disqualification) was 1 day and the maximum
         6 weeks, the principles still apply. It is important that decision makers should have
         regard to them so that, if the claimant appeals to an social security appeal tribunal,
                                                                                        1
         the decision maker can explain the period of sanction imposed .
                                                                                                         1 R(U) 4/87

                                                                                                                   1
34046    [See DMG Memo Vol 1/96, 4/111 & 6/72] It is difficult to administer this provision
                        2
         consistently , particularly since the maximum period of a sanction has increased
         since the principles outlined in DMG 34044 1., 2., 3. and 8. were decided. Decision
         makers should try to avoid discrepancies, but difference in treatment is unavoidable
         to some extent. As decision makers




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                               September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                               Sanctions of discretionary length



         1.     have discretion to decide the period of a sanction and

         2.     must take into account all the facts of the individual case

         it is not possible to give general guidance on what period would be reasonable if
         particular circumstances existed. But if the reason for the sanction is anything other
         than misconduct, and subject to DMG 34043 - 34044 and DMG 34048 - 34050,
         where the decision maker has no evidence to explain the claimant’s action or failure
         to act, it is likely that the maximum sanction will be reasonable.
                                                     1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(3) & 22A(4); 2 R(U) 8/74(T)


34047    [See DMG Memo Vol 1/96, 4/111 & 6/72] When considering periods of sanction
         (then disqualification) in earlier case law the decision maker should remember that
                                       1
         times and attitudes change .
                                                                                            1 R(U) 8/74(T)


         Employment would not have lasted 26 weeks

34048    Before the length of time the employment would have lasted can be taken into
         account the decision maker must be satisfied that the employment would have
         ended at or about a certain date. This will not be the case where

         1.     the claimant or employer says that the employment would have ended soon,
                                                                                               1
                but it is unclear whether it would have ended within 26 weeks or later or

         2.     the employment ends while the claimant is already serving a period of notice
                in circumstances which would have led to a sanction if the claimant had
                completed his notice.
                                                                                               1 R(U) 1/57


         Claimant loses entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance whilst
         sanctioned

34049    A claimant has to be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance before the decision maker
         can impose a sanction. If a claimant loses entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance

         1.     during a sanction or

         2.     after the date on which a sanction is imposed but before the sanction period
                starts

         the sanction ceases to have any effect. But if the claimant again becomes entitled
         to Jobseeker’s Allowance within the sanction period, then the original sanction
         applies again and Jobseeker’s Allowance will not be payable for the original
         sanction period imposed.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                   September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                            Sanctions of discretionary length



         Example

         Dave Hurst left his job voluntarily and without just cause, so the decision maker
         imposes a sanction for 15 weeks, and Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable from
         Wednesday 9.10.96 to Tuesday 21.1.97 (both dates included). On Monday 4.11.96
         Dave starts full time work for 39 hours a week and ceases to be entitled to
         Jobseeker’s Allowance. On Friday 29.11.96 he is made redundant from this job,
         and claims Jobseeker’s Allowance and becomes entitled to it from and including
         Saturday 30.11.96. No Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable to Dave from 30.11.96 to
         21.1.97 (both dates included) because of the sanction originally imposed by the
         decision maker.


         Vacancy is filled before the decision maker considers the case

34050    The period of sanction for

         1.     refusing employment or

         2.     neglecting to avail oneself of employment

         is not affected if the vacancy has been filled by the time the decision maker
         considers the sanction. This is so even if by then the claimant has decided to apply
         for the vacancy, but it is no longer open. (But see DMG 34401 - 34402 if the
         change of mind is before the vacancy is filled.) The decision maker is imposing a
         sanction because the claimant might have been in employment but for the refusal or
         neglect.


         Days to be deducted from the sanction period

34051    For leaving voluntarily and misconduct cases, once the decision maker has chosen
         the period of sanction, it should be reduced by any days

         1.     which fall after the date on which the employment ended (see DMG 26038)
                and

         2.     which fall before the period of sanction starts (DMG 34054 - 34058) and

         3.     for which claimants do not receive any Jobseeker’s Allowance because they

               3.1      do not claim it or

               3.2      claim it late or
                                                            1
               3.3      are in other employment or training or
                                                                          2
               3.4      are reinstated in the former employment or training or
                                             3
               3.5      are incapable of work or



Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                Sanctions of discretionary length



               3.6      are not available for work or

               3.7      are not actively seeking employment or

               3.8      do not have a jobseeker’s agreement or

               3.9      are imprisoned or detained in legal custody or

               3.10 receive Statutory Maternity Pay for a period after their employment has
                        ended or

               3.11 are abroad or

               3.12 have failed to attend or failed to provide a signed declaration without
                        good cause (see DMG Chapter 20) or

               3.13 have income that exceeds the applicable amount or

               3.14 have capital in excess of the maximum allowed or

               3.15 are in receipt of young person’s bridging allowance.

         Note: If after the reduction the sanction period is nil, the decision maker should
         decide not to sanction.

                                                        1 R(U)35/53; R(U)13/64; 2 R(U)24/64; 3 R(U)11/59


         Example

         Sally got sacked for misconduct but does not claim Jobseeker’s Allowance as she
         decides to live off her savings.     After 28 weeks makes a claim for Jobseeker’s
         Allowance.     The decision maker is asked to decide whether Sally should be
         sanctioned for getting sacked. The decision maker decides that a sanction period of
         26 weeks would be appropriate. But the 28 weeks after the date the job ended and
         before the sanction starts (when Sally did not get Jobseeker’s Allowance because
         she did not claim), have to be deducted. The decision maker cannot sanction Sally.

34052    For refusing employment and neglecting a reasonable opportunity of employment
         cases, once the decision maker has chosen the period of sanction, it should be
         reduced by any days

         1.     which fall on or after the date on which the claimant refused or neglected an
                opportunity of employment and

         2.     which fall before the period of sanction starts (DMG 34054 - 34058) and

         3.     for which claimants do not receive any Jobseeker’s Allowance because they

                3.1     do not claim it or

                3.2     claim it late or




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                  September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                  Sanctions of discretionary length


                                                               1
                3.3     are in other employment or training or

                                                                                 2
                3.4     are reinstated in the former employment or training or

                                              3
                3.5     are incapable of work or

                3.6     are not available for work or

                3.7     are not actively seeking employment or

                3.8     do not have a jobseeker’s agreement or

                3.9     are imprisoned or detained in legal custody or

                3.10 receive any holiday pay or Statutory Maternity Pay for a period after
                        their employment has ended or

                3.11 are abroad or

                3.12 have failed to attend or fail to provide a signed declaration without good
                        cause (DMG Chapter 20) or

                3.13 have income that exceeds the applicable amount or

                3.14 have capital in excess of the maximum allowed or

                3.15 are in receipt of young person’s bridging loan.

         Note: If after the reduction the sanction period is nil, the decision maker, should
         decide not to sanction.
                                                        1 R(U)35/53; R(U) 13/64; 2 R(U) 24/64; 3 R(U) 11/59


34053    If claimants do not receive Jobseeker’s Allowance for certain days because, for
         example, they are in employment, those days can be deducted from the period of a
         sanction.    But if instead of losing Jobseeker’s Allowance a claimant receives a
         reduced amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance for a week none of the days in that week
         can be deducted from the period of a sanction. Claimants may work for less than a
         week but lose Jobseeker’s Allowance for a full week because of that work. All the
         days of lost benefit (the full week) can be deducted from the period of sanction - not
         just the days of actual work.


         When sanctions of discretionary length start
34054    Once the decision maker has decided a discretionary length sanction is appropriate,
         and the length of that sanction, then the decision maker has to decide when the
         discretionary length sanction is to start from.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                    September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                       Sanctions of discretionary length



34055    Where the decision maker has to revise or supersede an award to impose a
         sanction, the sanction starts on

         1.     the first day of the benefit week following the date on which the decision
                                                                               1
                maker decides to impose a sanction on the claimant or
                                                                                              2
         2.     if Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid other than fortnightly in arrears , the first day
                of the benefit week following the benefit week for which Jobseeker’s
                                             3
                Allowance was last paid .
                                         1 SS & CS (D&A) Regs (NI), reg 7(8); 2 SS (C&P) Regs (NI), reg 26A(1);
                                                                           3 SS & CS (D&A) Regs (NI), reg 7(8)


         Example

         A decision maker decides on Friday 6.12.96 to impose a sanction on Rose for 22
         weeks for refusing a job. Rose regularly attends the Social Security Office, having
         been given a notice (form JS40) to do so, on a Monday.                      Her benefit week is
         therefore Tuesday to Monday.            The sanction will therefore begin on Tuesday
         10.12.96 and end on Monday 12.5.97.

34056    If the decision maker imposes a sanction without having to revise or supersede an
         award the guidance in DMG 34057 - 34058 should be followed to decide the start of
         the sanction period.

34057    Decision makers should apply the following rules when deciding the start date of a
         sanction period.
                                                                       1
         1.     A sanction must be for one continuous period .

         2.     A sanction must start on a day on which the claimant is entitled to
                                         2
                Jobseeker’s Allowance .

         3.     If full rate Jobseeker’s Allowance has been paid - not hardship rate (and in
                most cases it will have been paid at full rate) after the date on which the
                employment ended or since the date of refusal, failure or neglect, the period
                                                                                          3
                of sanction should start later to make the sanction effective . Subject to 2.
                and 5. this will be the day after the last day for which full rate Jobseeker’s
                Allowance was paid.

         4.     Subject to 2., 3. and 5. a sanction for

               4.1      leaving   employment      voluntarily     or       losing   employment       through
                                                                                                             4
                        misconduct should start on the first day after the employment ended
                        (DMG Chapter 26 gives guidance on when employment ends)

               4.2      refusing employment or neglecting to avail oneself of employment
                        should start on the date of the refusal, failure or neglect.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                         September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                         Sanctions of discretionary length



         5.      The period of sanction should start after the expiry date, when the claimant
                                                                 5
                 has received a compensation payment .
                 1 R(U) 24/56; 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1); 3 CU 19/48; R(U) 24/56; 4 CU 19/48; CU 155/50(KL);
                                                                                  5 JSA Regs (NI), reg 94(6) & 98(3)


34058    The following examples show how the rules in DMG 34057 should be applied when
         more than one rule applies in a particular case.

         Example 1

         Gordon leaves his employment and claims Jobseeker’s Allowance.                               He is not
         entitled to it for 3 weeks because he does not have a valid jobseeker’s agreement.
         Applying DMG 34057 2. and 4., the period of sanction should start on the first day
         on which he is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance.

         Example 2

         Carol receives a compensation payment when her employment ends. She later
         receives Jobseeker’s Allowance for 4 weeks. Then her entitlement ceases for 2
         weeks because she failed to actively seek employment. Applying DMG 34057 2.,
         3., 4., and 5. the period of sanction should start on the day Carol becomes entitled
         to Jobseeker’s Allowance again after the 2 weeks she was not entitled because she
         did not actively seek employment.

         34059




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                               Misconduct




         Employment lost through misconduct

         Misconduct

         Introduction
34060    Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable if a claimant has lost employment as an
                                                      1
         employed earner through misconduct . For general guidance on the length of a
         sanction, and when it should begin see DMG 34040 - 34058. Hardship payments
         may be made in certain circumstances.
                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & (6)(a) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(d); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4)


         34061

34062    The sanction is not to punish claimants for losing a job, but to protect the National
         Insurance fund from claims which claimants bring upon themselves by their
                        1
         misconduct .
                                                                                     1 CU 190/50(KL); R(U) 2/77


34063    A sanction should only be imposed if the decision maker is satisfied that the
         claimant

         1.      is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and

         2.      was in employed earner’s employment and

         3.      acted or failed to act as alleged (DMG 34085 - 34096) and

         4.      behaved in such a way that it amounted to misconduct (DMG 34105 - 34186)
                 and
                                                                                          1
         5.      lost employment through misconduct (DMG 34193 - 34199) .
                            1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & 21(6)(a) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(d); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4)


         34064




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                          September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                               Relationship with trade dispute, redundancy and
                                                                                      unfair dismissal




         Relationship with trade dispute, redundancy
         and unfair dismissal

         Trade dispute
34065    In some cases the decision maker may have to consider

         1.     whether claimants are not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance because they are
                                           1
                involved in a trade dispute and

         2.     whether to impose sanctions because they lost their employment through
                misconduct.

         The trade dispute question should be decided first. If the claimant is not entitled to
         Jobseeker's Alllowance, a sanction cannot be imposed for misconduct.
                                                                                 1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 16



         Redundancy
34066    The decision maker should consider a sanction for misconduct where

         1.     claimants have not received redundancy payments because of their
                misconduct and

         2.     the employer terminates the contract of employment without notice because
                of that misconduct.

34067    If an industrial tribunal later awards the claimant all or part of the redundancy
         payment, this will not necessarily give grounds for superseding a sanction for
         misconduct (DMG 34068 - 34070).


         Unfair dismissal
                                               1
34068    Employment protection legislation protects employees against and defines unfair
                  2
         dismissal . Sometimes a case will arise where the decision maker is deciding on a
         sanction for misconduct, and the claimant has also made a complaint of unfair
         dismissal to an industrial tribunal.      These are separate questions, decided on
         different criteria. The decision making authorities and industrial tribunals are entirely
         independent of each other. Decisions by one are not binding on the other.
                                                           1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 145(1); 2 art 130 & 132




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                        April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                               Relationship with trade dispute, redundancy and
                                                                                      unfair dismissal



34069    The main difference between unfair dismissal and misconduct is that

         1.     in unfair dismissal, the emphasis is on the conduct of the employer

         2.     in misconduct, the main emphasis is on the conduct of the claimant.

         But the employer’s behaviour will be relevant to the question of whether the claimant
                                                                                        1
         lost employment through misconduct and if so, the length of the sanction .
                                                                                             1 R(U) 2/74


34070    There will be cases where a claimant succeeds before an industrial tribunal on the
         unfair dismissal question, but the decision maker decides a sanction is appropriate
         for misconduct, and vice versa.


         Industrial Tribunal’s finding of facts
34071    An industrial tribunal’s finding of facts is convincing evidence that can be taken into
         account by the decision making authorities, although the issues may be different. It
         is more likely that the facts will be fully investigated by an industrial tribunal than by
         the decision making authorities because

         1.     the employers are party to the case before the industrial tribunal and

         2.     industrial tribunals can compel the attendance of witnesses.

         But the decision making authorities are not bound to decide the facts in the same
                                      1
         way as an industrial tribunal .
                                                                                             1 R(U) 2/74


         34072 – 34074




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                       April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                           Proof




         Proof
                                                                                                     1
34075    The person who alleges the claimant has committed misconduct must prove it .
                                                             2
         The decision maker decides what is misconduct .          The decision maker further
         determines whether the employment was employed earner’s employment (see DMG
         26010).
                                                                 1 R(U) 12/56; R(U) 2/60; 2 R(U) 10/54


34076    Usually the decision maker decides questions of fact on the balance of probabilities.
         But in misconduct cases the probability should be high because it may bring
                                  1
         disgrace on the claimant . Before a sanction is imposed the decision maker should
         be substantially satisfied that the allegations which are made are well founded.
                                                                                1 R(U) 2/60; R(U) 7/61



         Evidence
34077    In misconduct cases the decision maker will usually have

         1.     statements by the employer describing the claimant’s alleged acts or
                omissions

         2.     statements by the claimant replying to the employer’s allegations.

34078    It may also be useful to have

         1.     statements by witnesses to the alleged acts or omissions

         2.     a written statement from the employer, giving reasons for the dismissal.

34079    Claimants can ask their employer for a statement as in DMG 34078 2., and should
         receive it within 14 days, if they have worked for the employer for at least one year
         and

         1.     the employer has given them notice of the termination of the contract of
                employment or

         2.     the employer has terminated the contract of employment without notice or

         3.     they are employed under a fixed term contract and the contract expires
                                         1
                without being renewed .
                                                                            1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 124




Volume 6 Amendment 28                                                                  October 2009
Decision Makers Guide                                                                      Proof




         Giving the claimant a chance to comment
34080    Before imposing a sanction for misconduct, the decision maker should be satisfied
         that claimants have been given an adequate chance to comment on all the
         statements made against them.

34081    If the employer’s statements are not complete, the decision maker can still arrange
         for claimants to have a chance to comment. But if

         1.     it is clear that the employer will not or cannot provide any further information
                and

         2.     decision making is not waiting for other legal action to be completed, for
                example a court case or industrial tribunal hearing and

         3.     the evidence is insufficient for a sanction to be imposed

         claimants should not be approached again in the hope that they may provide further
         evidence which would justify a sanction for misconduct.

34082    If fresh allegations are made at a tribunal hearing in the claimant’s absence, the
         decision maker should normally request an adjournment to allow the claimant to
         attend or answer the allegations in writing.

         34083 – 34084




Volume 6 Amendment 28                                                               October 2009
Decision Makers Guide                            Whether the claimant acted or failed to act as alleged




         Whether the claimant acted or failed to act
         as alleged

         Claimant prosecuted
34085    If claimants are prosecuted for an offence which would be misconduct if proved, a
         decision maker can decide that they have committed misconduct before they have
                             1
         been found guilty . A sanction can be imposed before the case has been heard in
         court.
                                                                                                 1 R(U) 10/54



         Claimant acquitted
34086    A decision maker should not decide that a claimant did not lose employment
         through misconduct just because the claimant was acquitted of an offence. The
         evidence that was before the court may be enough to establish misconduct, or there
                                                                                         1
         may be other acts or omissions which were not dealt with by the court .
                                                                                                  1 R(U) 8/57



         Reports of court or employer’s hearings
                                                                                             1
34087    Where claimants have been convicted of offences in Northern Ireland the decision
         maker should accept that they have committed these offences, unless the claimants
         can prove the contrary. So a conviction should be treated as strong evidence that a
         person did commit the offence, though it is not conclusive. The decision making
         authorities must still decide whether

         1.       that offence is misconduct and

         2.       the misconduct caused the claimant’s loss of employment.
                                                                        1 Civil Evidence Act (NI) 1971, sec 7


34088    A statement from the employer and claimant about the conviction may be sufficient
         evidence. But if there is disagreement about the

         1.       offence for which the claimant was convicted or

         2.       nature of the conviction

         a certificate giving the date and precise nature of the offence should be obtained
                                                 1
         from the Clerk of the Petty Sessions . This may become increasingly difficult in the
         light of the Data Protection Act.
                                                                                                 1 R(U) 24/64



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                            April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                          Whether the claimant acted or failed to act as alleged



34089    A finding by a Chief Constable, after formal disciplinary proceedings, that a police
         officer committed certain acts is strong evidence that the officer committed those
                                           1
         acts, though it is not conclusive .
                                                                                          1 R(U) 10/63


34090    Findings of fact by an administrative body, for example a hospital management
                                       1
         committee, are not evidence . Findings of fact by an ad hoc board or committee of
         enquiry appointed by the employer are relevant to the question of misconduct, but
         by themselves may be insufficient.        There should be other evidence before a
         sanction can be imposed.
                                                                                           1 R(U) 7/61



         Hearsay and eye-witness evidence
                                                                                                     1
34091    Hearsay evidence is acceptable, but its value must be very carefully considered .
         The decision maker should ensure that, where possible, the most direct evidence,
         generally of eye-witnesses, is obtained. The allegations against the claimant can
         then be properly tested. Direct evidence is particularly important where the claimant
                                                                             2
         denies the facts which are alleged to amount to misconduct . The surrounding
         circumstances may, however, be just as convincing as eye witness evidence.
                                                                   1 R(U) 12/56; 2 R(U) 2/60; R(U) 7/61


34092    The decision maker should decide the case on the available evidence where the
         allegations

         1.     are disputed by the claimant and

         2.     they are based on information of which the person relying to enquiries for the
                employer does not have personal knowledge.

         A vague or general allegation is not sufficient to establish misconduct by itself. But
         sometimes, when put together with the claimant’s own statement, it may establish
         misconduct (but see DMG 34081).

         34093 – 34104




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                     April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                       Whether the claimant’s conduct was misconduct




         Whether the claimant’s conduct was
         misconduct
34105    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76] The word “misconduct” is not defined in social security
                    1                                                                     2
         legislation .       But it suggests an element of blameworthiness .                   It means such
         misconduct as would persuade or oblige a reasonable employer to dismiss
         employees because, considering their misconduct, they are no longer fit to hold their
                         3
         employment .          Misconduct is conduct which is connected, but not necessarily
         directly, with the employment. And taking into account the

         1.     relationship of employer and employee and

         2.     rights and duties of both

         misconduct must be conduct that can fairly be described as blameworthy and
               4
         wrong .
                                   1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d); 2 R(U)8/57; 3 R(U)24/55; R(U)7/57;
                                                                                                        4 R(U)2/77


34106    Claimants may have behaved or performed their job in such a way that would lead
         to dismissal by a reasonable employer - but this may not be misconduct.

         Example 1

         Rachael Davis is often clumsy and inefficient at work.                         The employer, after
         investigating why, comes to the conclusion that she is naturally clumsy, and is doing
         the best she can. He dismisses Rachael. Rachael’s clumsiness and inefficiency is
         not misconduct.

         Example 2

         Andy Peters is absent for a total of 27 weeks in a year. All the periods of absence
         are due to sickness or accidents and are covered by medical certificates. The
         employer’s rules about notifying absences are all obeyed. The employer dismisses
         Andy. Andy’s absences are not misconduct.

34107    A decision maker should not impose a sanction for misconduct if there is evidence
         from someone who is medically qualified that at the time of the alleged misconduct
         the claimant was

         1.     suffering from a mental illness and

         2.     not responsible for the actions in question.

34108    A deliberate act or omission by a claimant which could have been avoided can be
         misconduct. For example, where claimants are late for work, the test is whether the



Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                                August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                              Whether the claimant’s conduct was misconduct



         lateness was preventable, or whether there was a failure on the part of the claimant
         to take care to attend at the proper time. Lateness which is outside the claimants
         control does not amount to misconduct.

34109    The decision making authorities decide whether the claimant’s actions are
         misconduct. It does not matter that the employer has not described the claimant’s
         actions as misconduct.

         Example

         An employer ends Sheila Rudd’s employment by contractual notice. In answer to
         an enquiry from the Department, the employer says that she dismissed Sheila
         because she had not been maintaining a proper standard of work. After further
         enquiries have been sent, it becomes clear that Sheila had been particularly
         careless. Sheila has lost her employment through misconduct.

         34110


         Misconduct outside employment
34111    Misconduct which happened outside working hours and was not in the course of the
                                                                                                     1
         claimant’s employment can be misconduct within the meaning of the legislation . It
         may cover both criminal and non criminal acts. But it cannot include conduct which
                                                   2
         happened before the employment started .
                                         1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d); R(U)7/57; R(U)20/59;
                                                                                     2 R(U)26/56; R(U)1/58


34112    The claimants’ behaviour must have affected, either directly or indirectly, their
         suitability for the employment before it can be misconduct, even if their behaviour
                                                                               1
         would amount to misconduct in a social or moral sense .                      Sexual offences
         committed outside the employment are likely to fall into this category, and should
         not generally be treated as misconduct.            But sometimes, where claimants’
         employment brought them into close contact with members of the public, their
         conduct could amount to misconduct and a sanction would be appropriate.
         Employees in certain professions, for example teachers, government employees
         and social workers, know they are expected to maintain a high moral standard and
         anyone dismissed for such offences would be particularly likely to be subject to a
                 2
         sanction .
                                                                                   1 R(U)24/55; 2 R(U)1/71


         34113 – 34116




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Decision Makers Guide                              Whether the claimant’s conduct was misconduct




         Instructions not obeyed
34117    If claimants wilfully disobeyed a reasonable order by an employer or other superior,
         this will usually be misconduct. But it is not misconduct if claimants

         1.     had compelling reasons for the refusal or

         2.     acted or failed to act on a genuine misunderstanding or

         3.     reasonably, but mistakenly, believed they were entitled to refuse.

         Example

         An employer orders Steven Kane, a van driver not to drive after he has been
         involved in an accident. The next day Steven finds his van waiting, loaded as usual,
         and he takes it out. He is dismissed for disobeying the order. He says that he
         understood he was being taken off driving, but did not understand that this was to
         happen at once.     Steven has not wilfully disobeyed the order, but acted on a
                                                             1
         genuine misunderstanding. This is not misconduct .
                                                                                       1 R(U)14/56



         Failure to follow rules and regulations
34118    In many employments there are rules or laws about the work and the way it is done
         for example, safety rules and licensing laws. Breaking such a rule is misconduct,
         unless it is very trivial. The fact that the rule is often broken does not excuse the
         breaking of it, or mean that it is not misconduct. But it should be taken into account
         when deciding the length of the sanction.

         Example

         Richard Mandal, the manager of a pub is sacked because he broke the licensing
         laws. It is accepted that he did not know he was breaking the law, and he has done
         the same thing on previous occasions without the police objecting.          This is still
         misconduct but the facts are reflected in the period of sanction the decision maker
                  1
         imposes .
                                                                                       1 R(U)10/54


34119    In some employments there are rules covering personal conduct. Breaking such a
         rule may be misconduct, depending on the seriousness of the offence. It is no
         excuse that the rule is often broken.




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         Example

         Kevin Jones, a postman is sacked for breaking a Post Office rule forbidding certain
                                                       1
         types of postal betting. This is misconduct .
                                                                                                 1 R(U)24/56


         Trade union membership and activities

34120    Under Industrial Relations law all trade union officials are entitled to a reasonable
         amount of time off work with pay to

         1.     carry out their industrial relations duties or
                                                                              1
         2.     undergo union-approved training in industrial relations .

         Trade union members are entitled to a reasonable amount of unpaid time off work
                                                                                  2
         to take part in trade union activities (excluding industrial action) .
                                                                          1 The No 2 Order, art 37; 2 art 38


34121    All employees have the right not to have any action taken against them by their
         employer to

         1.     stop or deter them from being or trying to become a member of an
                independent trade union, or punish them for doing so or

         2.     stop or deter them from taking part in the activities of an independent trade
                union at any appropriate time, or punish them for doing so or

         3.     force them to become members of any trade union, or of a particular trade
                                                                          1
                union, or one of a number of particular trade unions .
                                                                                   1 The No 2 Order, art 33(1)


34122    The dismissal of any employee is regarded as unfair if the reason or main reason for
         it was that the employee

         1.     was, or intended to become, a member of an independent trade union or

         2.     had taken part, or intended to take part, in the activities of an independent
                trade union at an appropriate time or

         3.     was not a member of

               3.1      any trade union or

               3.2      one, or a number of, particular trade unions or

         4.     had refused, or intended to refuse, to become or remain a member of

               4.1      any trade union or
                                                                      1
               4.2      one, or a number of, particular trade unions .
                                                                                  1 The No 1 Order, art 22A(1)




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34123    If claimants’ terms and conditions of employment were changed by a closed shop
         agreement and they were dismissed because they refused to join a union, a
                                         1
         sanction is not appropriate . Dismissal for refusing to join a union is now in all
                                2
         circumstances unfair .
                                                              1 R(U)2/77; 2 The No 1 Order, art 22A(1)(c)


         34124 – 34125


         Health and safety
                                                                                                       1
34126    Under Industrial Relations law all employees have the right not to be dismissed ,
                                                                         2
         selected for redundancy or subjected to any disadvantage for

         1.     carrying out or planning to carry out any health and safety activities for which
                they are appointed by their employer or

         2.     carrying out or planning to carry out any of their tasks as official or employer
                acknowledged health and safety representatives or committee members or

         3.     bringing to their employer’s attention

               3.1      by reasonable means and

               3.2      in the absence of a representative or committee who could do so on
                        their behalf

                a reasonable health and safety concern or

         4.     leaving or planning to leave, or refusing to return to

               4.1      the workplace or

               4.2      any dangerous part of it

                because they reasonably believed there was a serious and imminent danger
                which they could not reasonably be expected to avert or

         5.     taking, or planning to take, steps which were appropriate to protect
                themselves or others from danger which was reasonably believed to be
                serious and imminent.         When deciding what was appropriate, all the
                circumstances should be taken into account, including

               5.1      their knowledge and

               5.2      the facilities and

               5.3      the advice

                available at the time.
                                                                                1 The No 1 Order, art 22B




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         34127


         Refusal to do work
34128    Subject to DMG 34130, if a claimant refused to do work that should be done under
         the terms of the contract of employment, this is misconduct. But the work must be

         1.      appropriate to the grade or

         2.      work which there is an express or implied obligation to do (for example
                 alternative work under a guarantee agreement) or

         3.      work which may reasonably be required in an emergency.

34129    Sometimes the exact scope of a claimant’s duties was not defined in the contract of
         employment.     There may have been disagreement between a claimant and the
         employer about the extent of the duties. In this situation the decision maker should
         look at the work they had previously done. If they had done particular work for a
         long period without complaint, that is strong evidence that it had come to be
         recognised as part of the duties.

34130    If a claimant

         1.      should have done certain work and

         2.      had a reason for not doing so that was so compelling as to leave no choice in
                 the matter (for example if there is medical evidence that the work would have
                 been harmful to health)

         the refusal is not misconduct.

34131    If a claimant refused to perform work which was not part of the employment, it is not
         misconduct.

34132    Some trades require apprentices or trainees to do some work outside their trade. In
         such a case it is misconduct if they refuse. But if it interferes with their training, their
         refusal is not misconduct.

34133    If claimants refused, because of a trade dispute, to do work which they should have
         done, their refusal is misconduct. The case against them is even stronger if there is
         a recognised procedure for settling disputes and they chose to ignore it.              The
         claimants may also not be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance because they are
                                      1
         involved in a trade dispute . See DMG 34065 for advice on which decision to give.




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Decision Makers Guide                                     Whether the claimant’s conduct was misconduct



         Example

         Stan Paxman, a crane driver who is a shop steward refuses to carry out a proper
         order because of an argument about pay, so he is sacked. There is a detailed
         negotiating procedure for settling disputes but he ignores this. Stan has lost his
                                                  2
         employment through his misconduct .
                                                                      1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 16; 2 R(U) 41/53


         34134 – 34138


         Refusal to work overtime
34139    If a claimant

         1.     had an express or implied duty under the contract of employment to work
                overtime when required and

         2.     refused a reasonable request to do so

                                                      1
         the refusal will normally be misconduct . But the claimant should have been given
         adequate notice if possible. The amount of overtime required and the time when it
         was to be done should be reasonable for the employment. If the claimant had a
         reason for refusing the request, for example domestic difficulties, this should be
         taken into account when deciding the length of the sanction. See also DMG 34141.
                                                                                                 1 R(U)35/58


34140    If a claimant was dissatisfied with the rate of pay for overtime work, the claimant
         should have worked as instructed and pursued the matter in the proper way (for
         example through the trade union). Refusal to work overtime for this reason when
         there is an obligation to do so is misconduct.

34141    Refusal to work overtime is not misconduct if

         1.     the claimant was not under an obligation to work overtime or

         2.     the claimant genuinely believed that there was no obligation to do so or

         3.     the employer tried to introduce the requirement to work overtime into the
                terms and conditions of the employment, or to increase the amount already
                provided for in the contract or

         4.     although obliged to work overtime, the reasons for refusing were so
                compelling as to leave the claimant with no choice but to refuse.

         34142 – 34144




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         Refusal on grounds of religion or conscience
34145    An employer sometimes tries to impose terms or conditions of employment which
         would have restricted a claimant’s personal freedom or conflicted with a claimant’s
         genuinely held beliefs. If a claimant refused to comply with such conditions, this will
         not be misconduct. The principles explained in DMG 34480 - 34483 should be
         followed. If the claimant would have had good cause for refusing the employment,
         the refusal to comply with such conditions is not misconduct.

         34146 – 34148


         Negligence and inefficient work
34149    Whether negligence or carelessness is misconduct is a matter of degree. If it was
         deliberate it is misconduct. Otherwise it depends on

         1.     the responsibility, care and skill expected in the job and

         2.     the seriousness of the act or omission and

         3.     the extent of the claimant’s blame.

         If claimants were doing their best, then inefficiency is not misconduct.

34150    It is for the decision maker to establish that the claimant was so much to blame for
         the acts complained of that they are misconduct. If a claimant held a position of
         responsibility which called for a high standard of care or skill, a single incident, if
         proved, may amount to misconduct.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the caselaw
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Steven Knight, a bus driver is sacked because the bus hit another bus, causing
         slight damage to both vehicles. The collision happened on a dark road. Steven had
         a clean driving record for 21 years. As this is an isolated error of judgement, it is not
                        1
         misconduct .

         Example 2

         Sam Ibbotson, a fitter is told to check some bearings in a compressor. He says that
         he has completed the job. But, when the compressor is used, it is found that part of
         a bearing has not been replaced and is lying loose in the crankcase. He is therefore
         sacked. This is gross negligence on his part, and he has lost his employment
                                 2
         through his misconduct .



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         Example 3

         Sarah Lee, the manager of a pharmacy is sacked after several cash shortages are
         discovered. She is charged with embezzlement and acquitted. As she has been
         negligent in carrying out responsible duties, she has lost her employment through
                            3
         her misconduct .

         Example 4

         Andrea Ellis, an insurance agent returns her books to her employers, explaining that
         about 3 months before she lost £400 belonging to the company. An employee who
         has charge of her employer’s money is under a duty to take care to safeguard it.
         Andrea can not explain why she was carrying such a large amount of money, or
                                                                                                 4
         how she came to lose it. Her carelessness on this one instance is misconduct .
                                                    1 R(U) 10/52; 2 R(U) 35/53; 3 R(U) 8/57; 4 R(U) 17/64


34151    A certain amount of carelessness or negligence may be acceptable in doing less
         responsible tasks. Provided it is not deliberate, such an act or omission does not
         amount to misconduct even though the employee concerned lost employment as a
         result. Similarly, an isolated error of judgement which had no serious consequences
         may not be misconduct.

         Example

         Stuart Allison, a fire tender has to tend and keep alight a number of fires. He is
         sacked following a report that he has allowed the fires to go out one night. But this
         is not proved. Stuart admits that he let one fire go out, but tried to relight it at once.
         This is not misconduct. One fire might go out even if the fire tender is reasonably
         careful. And the fact that he took steps to rekindle it did not suggest a serious
                            1
         neglect of duty .
                                                                                              1 R(U)2/60


34152    Inefficiency alone is not misconduct when it is due only to the claimant’s natural lack
         of skill or ability.

         Example

         Malcolm Gray, a thread tapper is sacked because although the quality of his work is
         satisfactory, he is unable to produce the quantity of work wanted.                This is not
                        1
         misconduct .
                                                                                             1 R(U)34/52


         34153 – 34157




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         Driving offences and road accidents
34158    If claimants committed road traffic offences which had a direct effect on their ability
         to do their jobs, then this is misconduct. This will be the case, even where the
         offence was committed outside the employment. But if the offence was an isolated
         and minor act of negligence or was trivial or merely technical, it will not be
         misconduct. An offence should not be regarded as minor, trivial or technical if, on
         conviction, claimants

         1.     have their licences suspended or

         2.     are disqualified from holding a licence.

         Conviction in such cases is evidence of misconduct. A certificate giving the date
         and precise nature of the offence should be obtained if there is any disagreement
         about the nature of the offence.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the caselaw
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Lesley Parker, a lorry driver is convicted of being in charge of a car while under the
         influence of drink and her licence is withdrawn. She is sacked. The offence took
         place in her own time and in her private car.       Lesley has lost her employment
                                 1
         through her misconduct .

         Example 2

         Edmund Weaver, a bus driver leaves his employment when he is disqualified from
         holding a driving licence for 6 months because he is convicted of driving without
         insurance. The conviction is evidence that he has committed the offence and, since
         his employment depends on his holding a driving licence, it is a strong indication of
                        2
         misconduct .
                                                                           1 R(U) 7/57; 2 R(U) 24/64


34159    Even if claimants were not prosecuted under road traffic legislation, they may have
         been involved in incidents which reflected on their driving ability and resulted in loss
         of employment. Whether their acts or omissions amount to misconduct depends on
         all the circumstances of the case.




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         Example

         Jason Tomlinson, an experienced driver is sacked after his van hits a low railway
         bridge. He wrongly assumed that an oncoming bus had passed under the bridge
         and that there was therefore enough headroom for his vehicle. In fact the bus had
         come from a concealed side road. There was a warning sign on the bridge, which
         he saw too late to stop. Jason has been negligent enough to be sanctioned for
         misconduct. But the fact that

         1.     there was no advance warning sign of the bridge ahead and

         2.     no sign to show the side road

                                                                          1
         are taken into account when deciding the length of the sanction .
                                                                                        1 R(U) 13/53


34160    It was not necessary for a claimant to have been employed as a driver or for the
         contract of employment specifically to have provided for the claimant to use a
         company vehicle for DMG 34158 - 34159 to apply. If a claimant

         1.     had used a vehicle and

         2.     needed to be able to drive to do the job properly and efficiently and

         3.     was disqualified from holding a driving licence

         the claimant has lost the job through misconduct.

34161    But where the offence did not have a direct effect on claimants’ abilities to carry out
         their duties, this will not be misconduct. For example, a claimant who used a car to
         get to work because there was no public transport might be disqualified for holding a
         driving licence. It is not misconduct if the employer would have continued to employ
         them if they could have got to work.

         34162 – 34167


         Unauthorised absence and lateness
34168    Repeated or lengthy absence from work without permission or justification is usually
         misconduct. But one short absence may also be misconduct. It is no excuse that
         such absence was common practice or that the claimant had not been warned.
         Absence includes not only whole days of non-attendance but also late arrival, early
         departure and short periods of absence during working hours.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the caselaw
         quoted.




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         Example 1

         Bruce Bell, an electrician, is sacked because he is often absent from work without
         permission. He says that, due to shortage of materials, he often has no work to do
         and can only earn the basic rate. He could spend his time better elsewhere. Even if
         this is true, it does not justify being absent without leave.     Bruce has lost his
                                          1
         employment through misconduct .

         Example 2

         Jennifer Hanson is sacked because she is absent from work for a week without
         permission in order to attend a convention. She applied for leave but was refused.
                                                               2
         Jennifer has lost her employment through misconduct .

         Example 3

         Sue McIntosh does not go into work on a Saturday after she has been refused leave
         of absence because other people were on holiday. When told off by her employer
         she gives two weeks notice, but she is then told to leave at once. A sanction for
                                                           3
         leaving voluntarily or misconduct can be imposed .

         Example 4

         Chris Egan is sacked because he often doesn’t turn up for work, or turns up late
         without permission. He makes up the lost time by working late and says that this is
                                                                                         4
         the recognised practice. Chris has lost his employment through his misconduct .

         Example 5

         Nineteen employees leave their jobs as a protest because their foreman has
         withheld a tax rebate due to a fellow worker. As a result the employer closes the
         site for several weeks. There has not been a trade dispute. The claimants have
         lost their employment through their misconduct. Instead of walking off the site they
         should have referred their grievance to the trade union.      The foreman’s action,
         which provoked the employees, is taken into account when deciding the length of
                        5
         the sanction .

         Example 6

         Adam Crowther is suspended from work by the employer for a month because of
         unauthorised absence from work. Adam’s conduct amounts to misconduct, but the
                                                                          6
         period of sanction is only for the period of suspension from work .




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34169    Where a claimant was arrested, the absence from work is not misconduct. But the
         question arises whether the offence causing the arrest is misconduct (see DMG
         34112 and DMG 34178 - 34186).
                                 1 R(U)22/52; 2 R(U)8/53; 3 R(U)2/54; 4 R(U)1/57; 5 R(U)26/59; 6 R(U)10/71



         Looking for other work

34170    Absence from work without permission to look for other employment, or to be
         interviewed for another job, is misconduct. But if the employer was unreasonable
         when dealing with requests for leave for such purposes, this should be taken into
         account when deciding the period of the sanction.              The decision maker should
         consider whether

         1.     the claimant had a compelling reason for wanting a change of employment

         2.     it was necessary to have time off, and when and for how long

         3.     the claimant had grounds for thinking the employer would be unreasonable.

         Example

         Tom Rogers, a labourer is sacked, after a previous warning, because of repeated
         unauthorised absences from work. The employment is harmful to his health, and he
         is absent because he is looking for more suitable employment. But Tom did not
         explain this, or ask permission to have time off.               This is misconduct.         The
         circumstances should be taken into account when deciding the length of the
                 1
         sanction .
                                                                                               1 R(U)8/61



         Time off work under employment protection and trade union law

34171    Under Industrial Relations law certain employees are entitled to a reasonable
         amount of time off work for various reasons. If the employer refuses to allow them
         to take time off, employees may complain to an industrial tribunal. If the industrial
         tribunal finds the complaint well founded they may, in certain circumstances, award
         claimants compensation. The following types of employees fall within the provisions
                                                      1
         1.     trade union officials and members (see DMG 34120)

         2.     people undertaking public duties as

               2.1      justices of the peace

               2.2      district council members

               2.3      police authority members

               2.4      members of any statutory tribunal



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               2.5      members of a Health and Social Services Board or Health Social
                        Services Trust

               2.6      school or college governors
                                                                               2
               2.7      members of an Education and Library Board .

         Employees in 1. and 2. are all entitled to a reasonable amount of time off during
         working hours to perform their duties.

         3.     employees under notice of redundancy are entitled to reasonable time off to
                look for new employment or make arrangements for training for future
                              3
                employment

         4.     pregnant employees have the right not to be unreasonably refused time off
                                                                                   4
                during working hours for ante natal care appointments

         5.     occupational pension scheme trustees are entitled to reasonable time off to
                                                                                          5
                perform their duties and do training relevant to those duties

         6.     employee     representatives        or    election      candidates       to    be     employee
                representatives for redundancies for Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of
                                             6
                Employment) legislation are entitled to reasonable time off to perform their
                         7
                function .
                                  1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 92, 93 & 94; 2 art 78 & 79; 3 art 80; 4 art 83; 5 art 86;
                                                                                              6 Part XIII; 7 art 89


34172    If claimants who fall within DMG 34171 were refused time off, or as much time off as
         they wanted, they should have complained to an industrial tribunal. If they took an
         unreasonable amount of time off against their employer’s wishes, and were
         dismissed for unauthorised absence, their dismissal will usually be due to
         misconduct.


         Notification of absences

34173    Absence from work which was

         1.     unavoidable, for example because of illness or

         2.     justified by some reasonable excuse, such as domestic difficulties

         is not in itself misconduct. But a claimant must have complied with the employer’s
         rules about notification of absences. If there were no such rules, claimants should
         have taken all reasonable steps to notify the employer promptly (beforehand if
         practicable) of the reason for the absence. They should also have kept employers
         informed if the absences were long ones. Failure to do so is misconduct.




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         Example 1

         Gary Newsome, a welder is absent from work for 3 weeks and for some odd days
         because either he, or his wife (Mary), is ill. He says that his wife has written to his
         employer once during the 3 weeks, but the employer says that he has not received
         the letter.    Gary has lost his employment through his misconduct.         Even if his
         statement is true, one letter during an absence of 3 weeks is not sufficient.
         However, Gary and Mary’s illnesses are taken into account when deciding the
                                1
         length of the sanction .

         Example 2

         Lionel Townend, a painter does not return to work after a holiday because he is sick,
         but he does not inform his employer. Lionel has lost his employment through his
         misconduct.     On a previous occasion he delayed giving a reason until after he
         returned to work, and the employer had accepted his explanation. This is be taken
                                                                 2
         into account when deciding the length of the sanction .
                                                                         1 R(U) 23/58; 2 R(U) 11/59


34174    If the claimants’ failure to notify was beyond their control, for example they were
         living alone and had no way of contacting the employer (eg a phone), they have
         acted reasonably and their failure is not misconduct.

         34175 – 34177


         Offensive behaviour
34178    Insolence, quarrelling, scuffling or fighting and other forms of offensive behaviour
         are misconduct. But they will not be misconduct if the claimants were suffering from
         mental illness (for example nervous and depressive attacks) which meant that they
         were not fully responsible for their actions. If there was substantial provocation this
         should be taken into account when deciding the length of the sanction.

34179    The use of bad language may also be misconduct, depending on

         1.     the place and

         2.     the people present.

         The use of bad language in conversation with others who are using it, and if it
         cannot be overheard, is not misconduct. But its use in circumstances when it is
         known, or might be expected, to give offence to others is misconduct. An apology
         does not excuse such conduct, nor is it necessarily an admission of guilt. People
         sometimes apologise even though they consider themselves unfairly accused.




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         Example 1

         Peter Shipley, a clerk, often uses obscene language and makes indecent remarks
         about women employees. His colleagues complain and he is sacked. Peter has
                                                       1
         lost his employment through his misconduct .

         Example 2

         Jon Megson, a fitter in an aircraft company is sent to work on a Royal Canadian Air
         Force base and is provided with quarters. He is drunk in these quarters in his own
         time. The Royal Canadian Air Force complains to his employer and he is sacked.
                                                                2
         Jon has lost his employment through his misconduct .
                                                                          1 R(U) 12/56; 2 R(U) 14/57


34180    If claimants complained in reasonable terms about their conditions of employment,
         this is not misconduct. But if, because of their discontent, they did their work badly,
         see (see DMG 34149 - 34152). If they refused to work, see DMG 34128 - 34133. A
         criminal charge made against a superior is misconduct if it was known to be false or
                              1
         was made recklessly .

         Example

         Christopher Jessop brings a charge against his supervisor for assault while on his
         way to work, but the case is dismissed.           There is no allegation of any other
         misconduct against the claimant.     He is dismissed in the interests of discipline.
         Christopher has not lost his employment through misconduct because there is no
         evidence that he knew the charge was false or made it recklessly.
                                                                                        1 R(U) 24/55


34181    Sexual misbehaviour is not necessarily misconduct, but it may be where it affects
         the claimant’s suitability for the employment concerned (see also DMG 34111 -
                1
         34112) .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 1/71


34182    Intimidating fellow employees to stop them working is misconduct. A claimant may
         not be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance where the intimidation is connected with a
                                                   1
         stoppage of work due to a trade dispute . The guidance in DMG 34065 should be
         followed.
                                                                            1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 16


         34183 – 34184




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         Dishonesty
34185    Dishonesty in the course of employment is misconduct.                 Dishonesty outside
         employment is also misconduct if it means that the claimant was not a fit person to
         hold the employment.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the caselaw
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Marion Hughes, a painter steals an almost empty tin of paint from her employer.
         She is convicted and dismissed.       Marion has lost her employment though her
         misconduct. But the paint was only worth about 10p, and the claimant thought that
         it was worthless and that there was no objection to her taking it. This is reflected in
                                   1
         the length of the sanction .

         Example 2

         Kevin Patrick, a warehouseman receives tobacco stolen from his employer. He is
                                                                                                  2
         convicted and dismissed. Kevin has lost his employment though his misconduct .

         Example 3

         Barbara Steel, a factory worker steals some cigarettes from a fellow worker at a club
                                                                                                 3
         dance and is sacked. Barbara has lost her employment through her misconduct .

         Example 4

         Rose Whitehead, an apprentice draughtsman is dismissed after she is convicted for
         breaking into and stealing from premises which are not connected with her
                                                                                     4
         employment. Rose has lost her employment through her misconduct .
                                              1 CU(190/50(KL); 2 R(U) 27/52; 3 R(U) 10/53; 4 R(U) 20/59


34186    People who have been sacked from positions of trust or public prominence because
         of personal financial difficulties have not lost their employment through misconduct
         unless they have acted dishonestly or abused their positions.

         34187 – 34192




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                     August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                          Whether misconduct caused the loss of employment




         Whether misconduct caused the loss of
         employment
34193    For a sanction to be imposed it must be proved that the claimant lost employment
         because of misconduct. The sanction can only apply if the employment lost is
         employed earner’s employment (see DMG 34063 and 34075).

34194    A sanction cannot be imposed if the acts or omissions took place before the
         employment began. Claimants may sometimes have failed to disclose anticipated
         or pending court proceedings when applying for employment. Normally any non-
         disclosure will have been before employment commenced. But decision makers
         should look at the facts of each case before deciding whether such failure was
         during the employment. If claimants obtained their employment by misrepresenting
         their ages or their qualifications and were dismissed when the true position came to
         light, they have not lost their employment through their misconduct.

34195    The exact way in which the claimant lost employment is not important. The claimant
         may

         1.     be summarily dismissed or

         2.     be dismissed with notice or
                                1
         3.     leave voluntarily or
                                                                          2
         4.     resign as an alternative to probable or possible dismissal .
                                                                           1 R(U) 17/64; 2 R(U) 2/76


34196    In any of these circumstances, claimants can be held to have “lost their
         employment” through misconduct.        If they resign, this is so even though their
         employer might not have dismissed them for the misconduct. It is also immaterial
         that the claimant was allowed to continue working for some time after the act of
         misconduct (or the last such act) if there is an adequate explanation. Examples of
         this are

         1.     the misconduct was being investigated

         2.     the result of criminal proceedings was awaited

         3.     the employer had not heard of the misconduct
                                                    1
         4.     the employer was awaiting a report .
                                                                                       1 R(U) 14/57


34197    If, however, there is no adequate explanation for the delay it may be reasonable to
         infer that it was decided at the time not to discharge the claimant and that the



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                  April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                              Whether misconduct caused the loss of employment



         eventual loss of employment was really due to some other cause. If the employer
         has issued a statement of the type referred to in DMG 34078 2., that will provide
         strong evidence of the reason(s) for the dismissal.
                                                                  1 R(U) 17/64; 2 R(U) 2/76; 3 R(U) 14/57


34198    If claimants are suspended without pay they have lost their employment for the
                                    1
         purpose of this legislation . Often in such a case, however, it is necessary to defer
         a decision for the outcome of an investigation or trial.
                                                                 1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d)


34199    The claimant’s misconduct need not be the only cause, or even the main cause, of
         the loss of employment, provided it is an immediate and substantial reason for the
         loss at that particular time. It is irrelevant that there are or may have been other
         contributory factors.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the caselaw
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Tim Yarrow loses his employment because of inefficient workmanship, “trouble-
         making” and absenteeism. The actual cause of his dismissal one afternoon is that
         he is absent that morning and has been late on the 2 previous days. Tim has lost
                                               1
         his employment through misconduct .

         Example 2

         Brian Mills, a fitter is dismissed for “trouble-making” and for drunkenness on a
         customer’s premises. He is dismissed on receipt of a report about his drunkenness
                                                                                               2
         from the customer. Brian has lost his employment through his misconduct .

         Example 3

         Rose Whitehead, an apprentice draughtsman is dismissed after she has been
         convicted of a criminal offence unconnected with her employment. A further reason
         for her dismissal is that she has failed to attend evening classes. The criminal
         offence is misconduct and is the direct reason for her discharge. Rose has lost her
                                           3
         employment through misconduct .

         Example 4

         Anne Smith is dismissed because her employer's insurance company increase the
         premiums they have to pay to insure their fleet of vehicles. The insurance company
         do so because Anne has been involved in four accidents. The insurance companies
         of the other vehicles involved in the accidents show that all the accidents were



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                          April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                       Whether misconduct caused the loss of employment



         Anne's fault, so the employer's insurer cannot cover any costs. Anne has not lost
         her employment through misconduct. She was dismissed because she was too big
         a liability to be kept on.
                                                           1 R(U) 1/57; 2 R(U) 14/57; 3 R(U) 20/59


         34200 – 34219




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                              Left voluntary - introduction




         Voluntarily left employment without just
         cause

         Left voluntarily - introduction
34220    Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable if a claimant has voluntarily left employed
                                                         1
         earner’s employment without just cause . For general guidance on the length of a
         sanction, and when it should begin, see DMG 34040 - 34058. Hardship payments
         may be made in certain circumstances.
                         1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & (6)(b) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(e); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(3) & (4)


34221    The purpose of the sanction is to protect the National Insurance fund from claims
                                                                                                    1
         arising from circumstances that claimants have brought upon themselves .
                                                                                                        1 R(U) 3/81

                                                                 1
34222    A sanction can only be imposed if the claimant

         1.     is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and

         2.     was in employed earner’s employment and

         3.     was not in a trial period (see DMG 34234 - 34239) and

         4.     left employment voluntarily (see DMG 34241 - 34272) and

         5.     did so without just cause (see DMG 34278 - 34386).
                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1), 21(6)(b) & 22(3) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(e), 22(3) & 22B(3);
                                                                                       JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(3) &(4)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                              Relationship with trade dispute




         Relationship with trade dispute
34223    In some cases the decision maker may have to consider whether

         1.     claimants are entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance because they are involved in
                               1
                a trade dispute and

         2.     they left employment voluntarily without just cause.

         The trade dispute question should be decided first. Note that if the claimant is not
         entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, a sanction cannot be imposed for leaving
         voluntarily.
                                                                            1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 16


         34224 – 34225




Volume 6 Amendment 31                                                              November 2010
Decision Makers Guide                                                                            Proof




         Proof
34226    The decision maker may determine whether employment was employed earners
         employment (see DMG 26010). The decision maker has to show that the claimant
         left employment voluntarily. The claimant then has to show just cause for leaving.

34227    Whether the claimant

         1.     left employment voluntarily and

         2.     had just cause for doing so

                                                             1
         must be decided on the balance of probabilities . It is not enough for claimants to
         make general statements, for example that they left for personal reasons.
         Claimants must disclose the relevant facts in detail.
                                                                               1 R(U) 17/54; R(U) 20/64



         Evidence
34228    In leaving voluntarily cases the decision maker will usually have statements from

         1.     the employer

         2.     the claimant.

         Sometimes there will also be evidence from third parties.


         Giving the claimant a chance to comment
34229    Before imposing a sanction for leaving voluntarily, the decision maker should be
         satisfied that claimants have been given an adequate chance to comment on all the
         statements made against them.

34230    If the employer’s statements are not complete, the decision maker can still arrange
         for claimants to have a chance to comment. But if

         1.     it is clear that the employer will not or cannot provide any further information
                and

         2.     the evidence is insufficient to establish that the claimant left voluntarily

         claimants should not be approached again in the hope that they may provide further
         evidence which would justify a sanction for leaving voluntarily. The decision maker
         should decide not to impose a sanction.




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                    August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                 Proof



34231    If fresh allegations are made at a tribunal hearing in the claimant’s absence, the
         decision maker should normally ask for an adjournment to allow the claimant to
         attend or answer the allegations in writing.

         34232 – 34233




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                           August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                 Trial period




         Trial period

         Introduction
                                1
34234    The trial period rule allows people who have not worked for some time to take
         employment without the risk of being sanctioned for

         1.     leaving voluntarily or
                                                                                                               2
         2.     neglecting to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of employment

         if they leave that employment within a certain period.                   But if they leave as an
         alternative to being dismissed, they may still be sanctioned for losing their
         employment through misconduct (DMG 34195).
                                    1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(3) & 22B(3); 2 art 21(6)(b) & (d) & 22(A)(2)(e) & (g)



         When claimants can benefit from the trial period rule
34235    Claimants can benefit from the trial period rule if

         1.     they have not

               1.1      worked in employed earner’s employment nor

               1.2      been a self employed earner nor

               1.3      been a full-time student or been in relevant education (DMG Chapters
                        20 & 30)
                                                                                                           1
                during the 13 weeks before the day the employment in question started and

         2.     they do not leave the employment in question

               2.1      before or at the end of the 4th week in each of which they have worked
                        for at least 16 hours nor

               2.2      after the end of the 12th week in each of which they have worked for at
                                       2
                        least 16 hours .

         The 4 and 12 weeks need not be consecutive.                     “Week” means any continuous
                           3
         period of 7 days . The meaning of work is explained at DMG 34237.
                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 74(1); 2 reg 74(4); 3 reg 75(2)




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                                August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                              Trial period



34236    For the purpose of DMG 34235 1.

         1.     manning or launching a lifeboat or

         2.     performing duty as a part-time member of a fire brigade or

         3.     attending a work camp (DMG 21368) for up to 14 days

         does not count as employed earner’s employment, self employment or relevant
                     1
         education . And a claimant doing any study or training as part of 1. to 3. is not to be
         regarded as a full-time student just because of those activities.
                                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 4, 74(2) & (3)



         Meaning of work

34237    Work is not the same as employment. Work

         1.     includes periods when claimants are not actually working, but required under
                their contracts of employment to be in certain places ready to respond to the
                needs of the job (for example, firefighters on duty at a fire station, doctors on
                call at a hospital)

         2.     does not include periods

               2.1       when claimants are not at work because of sickness, holiday etc., even
                         if they are still paid

               2.2       spent in preparatory work that claimants do not have to do under their
                                                   1
                         contracts of employment

               2.3       when retained firefighters have to remain within a certain distance of
                                                                        2
                         the fire station, ready to respond to a fire .
                                                               1 R(U) 3/82; 2 Suffolk County Council v S of S for
                                                    the Environment & Alcock [1985] IRLR 24, [1984] ICR 882 HL


34238    The following examples show how to work out whether the trial period rule applies.

         Example 1

         Mary Bothy’s previous job ends on 9th September.

         On 9th December she starts full time work as an employed earner.

         She leaves that job after 8 weeks.

         The 13 weeks before 9 December are 9th September - 8th December.

         The trial period rule cannot help Mary because she worked on 9th September (see
         DMG 34235 1.1).




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                             August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                         Trial period



         Example 2

         Michael Nesbitt, who has not worked for over a year, starts work on 9th September.

         He works for 37 hours in that week.        He has a week’s paid holiday from 16th
         September to 22nd September. He is off work sick from 23rd September to 13th
         October.   He works for 37 hours in weeks commencing 14th October and 21st
         October and for 7 hours on 28th October.

         He then leaves the job.

         The trial period rule cannot help Michael because he worked for at least 16 hours in
         only 3 weeks since starting the job (see DMG 34235 2.1).

         Example 3

         George Anderson, who has not worked for over a year, starts work on Monday 9th
         September.

         He works 7 hours a day from Monday to Friday until Tuesday 3rd December, when
         he leaves the job.

         The trial period rule cannot help George. Although he has worked for 16 hours in
         only 12 weeks, he has left after the end of the 12th week in which he worked 16
         hours (see DMG 34235 2.2).

         Example 4

         Diane Troy, who has not worked for over a year starts work on Monday 9th
         September.

         She works 5 hours a day Monday to Sunday until she leaves the job on Sunday 6th
         October.

         The trial period rule cannot help Diane. Although she has worked for 16 hours in 4
         weeks, she has left the job at the end of the 4th week (see DMG 34235 2.1). The
         trial period rule would have helped her if she had left on Monday 7th October.

         The effect of a trial period
34239    If claimants can benefit from the trial period rule, they cannot be sanctioned for
         leaving the employment voluntarily or neglecting to avail themselves of employment.
         The question of just cause for leaving voluntarily, and good cause for neglecting to
              1
         avail need not be considered.
                                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(b) & (d) & 22A(2)(e) & 22A(2)(g)


         34240




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                        August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                         Whether the claimant left voluntarily




         Whether the claimant left voluntarily

         Meaning of voluntarily
34241    Claimants have voluntarily left their employment if they brought it to an end

         1.      by their own acts and

         2.      of their own free will.

34242    Claimants have not voluntarily left their employment if

         1.      they had no choice in the matter (DMG 34251 - 34253) or

         2.      there is convincing evidence (preferably medical) that they were not
                 responsible for their actions.

         34243


         Claimants who have no employment
34244    Claimants cannot leave employment at a time when they do not have any.
         Claimants whose jobs were abolished have not left their employment voluntarily
         even if they were offered or could apply for alternative jobs. But the decision maker
         may need to consider whether they have refused employment or neglected to avail
         themselves of employment.


         Women on maternity leave

34245    A woman may decide not to return to work within 29 weeks of the beginning of the
         week in which she has a child. She has not left her employment unless the contract
         of employment continued up to the date on which she decided not to return. But the
         decision maker may need to consider neglect to avail. For guidance on deciding
         when the contract of employment ends see DMG Chapter 26.


         Mariners

34246    Mariners whose employment comes to an end with the normal termination of articles
         do not voluntarily leave employment if they then decide not to renew their contracts.




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                  April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                             Whether the claimant left voluntarily




         Police

34247    Police officers qualify for maximum service pensions after 30 years. But this does
         not mean that their contracts of employment will end.            They will have left their
         employment voluntarily if their contracts of employment have not ended and they
                              1
         leave after 30 years .
                                                                                              1 R(U) 4/70


         34248 – 34250


         Resignation and dismissal
34251    When claimants’ employments ended because they had given notice, they have left
         voluntarily even if they
                                                                                                 1
         1.      were dismissed at once instead of being allowed to work out their notice or
                                                                           2
         2.      tried unsuccessfully to withdraw or cancel their notice .
                                                      1 CU 155/50(KL); R(U) 2/54; R(U) 1/96; 2 R(U) 27/59


34252    While working out their notice, people may be dismissed in circumstances which
         have no connection with those in which they gave notice. They have not left their
         employment voluntarily. But the decision maker may need to consider whether they
         have lost their employment though misconduct.


         Relationship to misconduct
34253    Claimants have not voluntarily left their employment if they resigned

         1.      because they genuinely believed that their employer was about to end their
                 employment at once or

         2.      when they were given the choice of resignation or dismissal.

         In these cases the decision maker may need to consider whether they have lost
         their employment through misconduct.

34254    Sometimes claimants have left their employment before the date on which the
         employer would have dismissed them. Such claimants have voluntarily left their
         employment, and can be sanctioned. But the period of the sanction cannot be
         longer than the number of days (subject to a one week minimum) between the date
         they left and the date on which they would have been dismissed. So, in cases
         where

         1.      claimants left because they expected to be dismissed and



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                       April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                         Whether the claimant left voluntarily



         2.     the dismissal would have been because of the claimants’ misconduct

         it may be preferable to sanction the claimant on the grounds of misconduct if this
         has been referred to the decision maker for a decision.

         Example

         Melanie Jackson is suspended from work on full pay whilst police investigate an
         alleged theft by her from her employer. The employer tells her that she will stay
         suspended until any court case against her has been heard. If she is found guilty
         she will be sacked at once. The claimant, knowing that she is guilty of theft, resigns
         before she can be dismissed. Three weeks after she resigns she goes to court and
         pleads guilty to the charge of theft. The decision maker can decide both

         1.     that Melanie left her employment voluntarily without just cause, because she
                left earlier than she needed to and

         2.     that Melanie lost her employment through misconduct.

         In 1. the period of sanction would be limited to three weeks.          But in 2. if the
         misconduct suggests a longer sanction, the decision maker should impose a
         sanction on the ground that Melanie lost her employment through misconduct.

34255    If claimants and their employers agreed to end or suspend the claimants’
         employment because of offences committed before their employment began, they
                                              1
         have not voluntarily left employment .
                                                                             1 R(U) 26/56; R(U) 1/58



         Notice cancelled or suspended
34256    Employers may have given claimants notice to end their employment. They may
         then have cancelled or suspended this notice, so that the claimants could have
         continued in the same employment. If claimants did not do so, they have voluntarily
         left their employment. But if an offer of further employment was made after the
         claimants’ employment had ended, they have not voluntarily left their employment.
         The decision maker may need to consider neglect to avail.

         34257 – 34258


         Changing the terms and conditions of employment
34259    If employers tried to impose a change in the terms and conditions of employment

         1.     without agreement and

         2.     which makes them a lot less favourable than before


Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                  April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                             Whether the claimant left voluntarily


                                                                                                    1
         they may have ended the employment by breaking the contract of employment . If
         claimants left their employment in such circumstances, they will not have left
         voluntarily.   Employees who are dismissed for refusing to accept such changes
                                  2
         have not left voluntarily .
                                                                     1 R(U) 25/52; 2 R(U) 7/74; R(U) 2/77



         The national minimum wage
34260    Claimants may suffer detriment caused by their employer because

         1.     the employees (or someone on their behalf) were going to take action to
                                                                                                1
                enforce or benefit from a right under national minimum wage legislation or

         2.     the employer was prosecuted for an offence under national minimum wage
                           2
                legislation or

         3.     the employees qualify or may qualify for the national minimum wage or a
                                                              3
                particular rate of the national minimum wage .
                                                                         1 NMW Act 98; 2 sec 31; 3 sec 23


34261    If claimants have suffered such detriment they may either

         1.     not have left employment voluntarily because they have been constructively
                dismissed or

         2.     have just cause for leaving voluntarily.

         Note: Decision makers should make that the detriment was done because of the
         reasons given in DMG 34260 1.2 or 3..


         Absence from work
34262    Claimants who had been absent from work can often be sanctioned for misconduct.
         But sometimes they may have voluntarily left their employment.

34263    If when they first claim Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants have

         1.     been absent from work or

         2.     failed to return to work after a period of suspension

         it may be reasonable to decide that the employment has come to an end by the date
         they claim, even though neither the claimant nor the employer have given notice. A
         sanction for leaving voluntarily should be considered.




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                       April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                   Whether the claimant left voluntarily



34264    Where the employer has dismissed the claimant because of absence, and there is
         no evidence that the claimant had already left the employment by that time, a
         sanction for misconduct should be considered.


         Claimants who volunteer for redundancy
34265    The decision maker should treat the claimant as not having left employment
                             1
         voluntarily where

         1.      the claimant

                 1.1    volunteered or agreed to be made redundant and

                 1.2    either

                        1.2.a    was dismissed by the employer or

                        1.2.b    was not dismissed but left on a date agreed with the employer
                                 following an agreement on voluntary redundancy or

         2.      the claimant had been laid off or on short-time for 4 weeks or 6 weeks out of
                                                                                   2
                 13 and asked the employer for a redundancy payment .
                                                  1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(7) & 22A(9); JSA Regs (NI), reg 71(1);
                                                                            2 ER (NI) Order 96, art 170(1), 183-187


         34266


         Meaning of redundant

34267    The claimant could only volunteer or agree to be made redundant if there was a
                                                                                   1
         redundancy situation as defined in employment legislation . The decision maker
         can accept that there was a redundancy situation if the claimant had received a
                                           2
         statutory redundancy payment .
                                    1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 71(2); ER (NI) Order 96, art 174(1)(a) & (b); 2 art 170(1)


34268    There was a redundancy situation as defined in employment legislation if the main
         or only reason for the dismissal was

         1.      the employer stopped or intended to stop running the business

                 1.1    in which the employee was employed or

                 1.2    in the place where the employee was employed or

         2.      the business needed or expected to need fewer employees

                 2.1    to carry out a specific type of work or

                 2.2    to carry out a specific type of work in the place where the employee
                        was employed or


Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                                April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                Whether the claimant left voluntarily



         3.         the business did not need or expected not to need any employees

                    3.1   to carry out a specific type of work or

                    3.2   to carry out a specific type of work in the place where the employee
                                         1
                          was employed .
                                                                                  1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 174(1)


34269    The business of the employer and any associated employers should be treated as
                                                                                    1
         one business to satisfy any of the conditions in DMG 34268 . The conditions in
         DMG 34268 will be satisfied if they happened either permanently or temporarily, and
                                             2
         no matter what caused them . The decision maker should apply the principles
         outlined in Chapter 07 et seq when deciding if something is temporary.
                                                                    1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 174(2); 2 art 174(5)



         British Telecom Newstart scheme

34270    The British Telecom Newstart scheme is a flexible leaving scheme and can cover a
         number of different situations. If there is no evidence that the claimant has received
         a statutory redundancy payment under Newstart then decision makers will need to
         find out from the claimant why a Newstart package was offered. If after contacting
         the claimant it is still not clear the decision makers should contact British Telecom.

34271    If the claimant volunteered to leave British Telecom because of the circumstances
         listed in DMG 34267 - 34268 then this will be a voluntary redundancy and leaving
         voluntarily action will not be appropriate. If DMG 34267 - 34268 do not apply then
         decision makers should take leaving voluntarily action unless the claimant has “just
         cause”.


         Meaning of laid off and short-time

34272    Laid off means that a person employed under a contract of employment does not
         have any work provided for them and as a result does not receive any pay for a
                1
         week . Short-time means that a person receives less than half the pay they usually
                                                                                                             2
         get for any week because there has been a reduction in the work they normally do .
                                                                    1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 182(1); 2 art 182(2)



         Claimants who leave employment early

34273    Claimants have left voluntarily if they satisfied the condition in DMG 34265 but they
         left

         1.         earlier than the date they

                    1.1   were to be dismissed by the employer or


Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                             April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                        Whether the claimant left voluntarily



               1.2      agreed with the employer they would leave and

         2.     without the employer’s agreement.

34274    If the claimant does not have just cause, a sanction should be imposed up to the
         period the claimant could have worked. The maximum period is 26 weeks and the
         minimum period is one week.

         34275 – 34277




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                 April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                           Just cause




         Just cause

         General
34278    There are no hard and fast rules as to when claimants have shown just cause for
         leaving employment, because the circumstances in which they leave employment
         are so varied. The decision maker should consider as a whole all the circumstances
                                                  1
         in which the claimant left employment .
                                                                                            1 R(U) 20/64(T)


34279    Claimants cannot show just cause just because they acted reasonably in their own
                  1
         interests .    The decision maker does not have to look at whether or not the
                                                               2
         claimant’s leaving was in the public interest .               It is the interests of the other
                                                                                                   3
         contributors to the National Insurance fund which must be taken into account . The
         decision maker should decide whether the claimant has just cause for throwing onto
                                                                   4
         the National Insurance fund the payment of benefit .
                                1 R(U) 20/64(T); 2 R(U) 3/81 Appendix; 3 R(U) 20/64(T); 4 R(U) 3/81 Appendix


34280    The following do not help a claimant to show just cause

         1.     little or no claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Unemployment Benefit or
                Income Support has been made in the past

         2.     the claimant’s employment record.

34281    But the claimant’s employment record may

         1.     indicate whether the claimant is likely to have acted responsibly or
                                                        1
                irresponsibly in leaving employment and

         2.     help the decision maker to decide the claimant’s chances of getting other
                employment.
                                                                                            1 R(U) 20/64(T)


34282    Some feature of the claimant’s

         1.     employment or

         2.     personal or domestic life

         may have justified leaving employment without considering the question of other
         employment. But the circumstances must be urgent. Otherwise the decision maker
         may decide that the claimant could have done something other than leave
                                              1
         employment when the claimant did .
                                                                                            1 R(U) 20/64(T)




Volume 6 Amendment 32                                                                          March 2009
Decision Makers Guide                                                                   Just cause



34283    Claimants may have just cause

         1.     if

               1.1      the circumstances in which they left employment almost amount to just
                        cause and

               1.2      they had a promise or a chance of other continuous employment which
                        was expected to last for some time or
                                                                                              1
         2.     if they had a promise of new settled full-time employment to start at once .

         DMG 34283 2. will probably only apply in exceptional circumstances, and will be
         more likely to amount to just cause if the employments claimants left were not
         continuous or certain to last for some time.
                                                                                     1 R(U) 20/64(T)


34284    When deciding just cause the decision maker should disregard any matter relating
                                                 1
         to the level of pay in the employment , except where the claimant voluntarily left
         their employment because

         1.     the national minimum wage applies to them and

         2.     they have tried to get their employer to pay them the national minimum wage
                that applies to them and

         3.     the employer is not paying at least the national minimum wage that applies to
                them.

         Note: If claimants leave wholly for other reasons, for example the work was too far
         from home, then the fact that the national minimum wage was not being paid will not
         give the claimant just cause.
                                                                         1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9)



         Caring responsibilities for a child
34285    When determining just cause for leaving employment for both Jobseeker’s
         Allowance claimants and joint-claim Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants the decision
         maker shall take into account

         1.    any caring responsibilities for a child which made it unreasonable for the
                claimant to remain in their employment

         2.    any child care expenses necessarily incurred by the claimant as a result of
                their being in employment if those expenses represented an unreasonably
                                                                          1
                high proportion of the pay received from that employment .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73A(2)




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34286    When considering whether the caring responsibilities made it unreasonable for the
         claimant to remain in employment the decision maker shall have regard to whether

         1.      child care would not be or was not reasonably available or

         2.      if it was available or would have been available it was, or would have been
                                                                                  1
                 unsuitable due to the claimant’s needs or the needs of the child .
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73A(3)


34287    There are no rules for deciding whether child care expenses would be an
         unreasonably high proportion of the pay received from that employment. Each case
         must be decided on its own facts. But the greater the pay the more reasonable it is
                                                         1
         for the expenses to be a higher proportion of it .
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73A(4)


         34288




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         Terms and conditions of employment
34289    Claimants cannot show just cause for leaving employment because

         1.     they found it distasteful or

         2.     it was below their expectations.

34290    But claimants may have just cause if

         1.     they genuinely did not know, or were mistaken, about the nature or
                conditions of the employment (other than pay) when they accepted it and left
                after a fair trial or

         2.     they tried a different kind of employment because there was no work in their
                own line and the new work did not suit them.

         Example

         Paul Stewart leaves his employment as a trainee office manager after 6 weeks of a
         probationary period of 3 months. He thinks it is unfair to continue training when he
         believes that the work is too difficult for him. Paul has acted responsibly and has
                                 1
         just cause for leaving .
                                                                                           1 R(U) 3/73


34291    Claimants will not have just cause for leaving if they

         1.     knew about the conditions that caused them to leave when they took the
                employment and

         2.     they took the employment in spite of those conditions.

         The claimant is expected to give the job a fair trial to try to resolve the difficulties.

34292    A claimant may leave their employment because they were required to work more
         than 48 hours a week, in contravention of the EU Working Hours Directive. If they
         have taken no action to resolve their complaint with their employers, they cannot
         show just cause.

         34293 – 34294

34295    The terms and conditions of employment (other than the level of pay) must make
         the employment so unsuitable that the claimant could not reasonably have been
         expected to stay in the job any longer. If this is the case, the claimant has just
         cause even if there were no prospects of other employment. But a claimant should
         have taken any steps possible through the proper channels to sort out the situation




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Decision Makers Guide                                             Terms and conditions of employment


                                         1
         rather than leave immediately . Otherwise the claimant does not have just cause
         for leaving.
                                                                                             1 R(U) 20/64(T)


34296    A claimant may have just cause for leaving if

         1.     the employer did not comply with some part of the contract of employment
                and

         2.     the claimant left shortly after the employment starts.

         In such a case the decision maker should consider the terms of the contract of
         employment, both express and implied. The decision maker should always obtain a
         copy of the contract where there is a dispute about its terms.

34297    Claimants may have just cause for leaving if they suffered detriment under the
         NMW legislation. See DMG 34260 et seq.


         Employer changes terms or conditions of employment

34298    If claimants left employment because they refused to accept a change to their terms
         and conditions, they may not have voluntarily left employment (DMG 34259). If
         they have left voluntarily, the fact that new conditions were imposed may give them
         just cause for leaving. But if the only reason claimants left was that the change
                                                                                      1
         would have reduced their level of pay, they do not have just cause .
                                                                       1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9)


         Example 1

         Kevin Riley, a piece worker, refuses to accept a change to the way his pay is
         calculated, that is paid for the amount of time he works rather than for each article
         completed, which his employer wants to impose at once. The change would mean
         a substantial drop in his wages. The drop in his wage is disregarded when the
                                             1
         decision maker decides just cause , but Kevin has just cause for leaving, as he had
                                                     2
         no proper chance to consider the situation .
                                                         1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9); 2 R(U) 15/53


         Example 2

         Teresa Moore is given one months notice by her employer that her pay will be cut
         because of a change in the way her pay is calculated. The change will mean a
         substantial drop in her pay. Teresa leaves at the end of the month because she
         thinks it unfair that her pay is to be cut, and she says she will find it hard to pay all
                                                                             1
         her bills on a lower wage. Teresa does not have just cause .
                                                                       1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9)




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34299    But a claimant will not have just cause for leaving

         1.      if it was not possible to say for definite what the effect of the changes in
                 terms or conditions would mean and

         2.      the claimant left before giving the changes an adequate trial.

34300    A claimant will not have just cause for leaving

         1.      if the change to the terms and conditions

                 1.1       was generally agreed and affected many or all of the employees or

                 1.2       was meant to bring the employees in the particular firm or department
                           into line with employees elsewhere or

         2.      if

                 2.1       the claimant stayed in the employment for longer than could be
                           regarded as a trial period and

                 2.2       the decision maker decides that by doing so the claimant had accepted
                           the change to the terms and conditions of employment.


         Police officers

34301    Police officers take employment knowing that its terms will become less favourable
         after 30 years. If, at that time, they choose to retire early they have left voluntarily
         and do not have just cause for leaving just because the terms become less
                       1
         favourable .
                                                                                               1 R(U) 4/70


         34302


         Grievances
34303    A claimant has just cause for leaving employment if the claimant

         1.      had a genuine and substantial grievance about the employment (other than
                 the level of pay) and

         2.      had tried in a proper and reasonable way to get it settled, but failed.

34304    An employer has to give employees a written statement within 2 months of them
         starting work.        The statement should include details of the person to whom
         employees should apply to sort out any grievances. The statement should also tell
                                1
         them how to apply . So every employee who has been in employment for at least 2
         months should be aware of a procedure by which they can try to sort out any
         grievance.
                                                                            1 ER (NI) Order 96, art 33 & 35




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34305    If a claimant could not sort out a grievance with the employer, the claimant might
         have been expected to remain in the employment for a time. If this is so, the
         claimant will not show just cause for leaving unless the claimant had tried hard to
         find other employment.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the case law
         quoted.

         Example 1

         David Cartwright, the foreman in charge of a building site, complains that his office
         is unsuitable, but does not use the workers or materials available to make it
         suitable. He also complains that his employer is hostile to trade unions and their
         members and is going to give work to non-union firms. But he does not consult his
                                                                            1
         union. David does not have just cause for leaving his employment .
                                                                                  1 CU 155/50(KL)


         Example 2

         Suzy Westen, an actress, and her colleagues, without consulting their union, tell
         their employer they will leave unless he meets certain demands. The employer
         treats the ultimatum as notice of termination of their contracts of employment. They
         do not have just cause for leaving. They should have referred the matter to their
               1
         union .
                                                                                     1 R(U) 33/51


         Example 3

         Carole Ross, a sales representative, resigns because she does not agree with her
         employer’s sales policy, and she is not happy with her working conditions or her
         colleagues.    She has not found other employment.       Carole does not have just
                          1
         cause for leaving .
                                                                                     1 R(U) 17/54



         Work outside of agreed duties

34306    A common grievance is where the claimant was ordered to do work which was not
         covered by the contract of employment. This may amount to just cause, particularly
         if the employer gave an ultimatum of either doing the work or leaving.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the case law
         quoted.




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         Example 1

         Gail Thomas, a waitress agrees to work behind a self service counter at a holiday
         camp until she is needed as a waitress. She leaves when she is made to peel
         potatoes. She finds work as a waitress at another holiday camp a fortnight later.
                                                              1
         Gail Thomas has just cause for leaving voluntarily .
                                                                                          1 R(U) 40/53


         Example 2

         Henry Ramsey, an apprentice electrician is ordered to repair a leak in a water pipe.
         He had done this type of work before, but his employer has already admitted that it
         is outside his contractual duties. He refuses to do the work, but the employer tells
                                                                                     1
         him to do it or leave. Henry leaves. Henry has just cause for leaving .
                                                                                          1 R(U) 18/57


34307    In some unskilled and semi skilled jobs the duties of employees are not clearly
         defined. Such employees have to do whatever is reasonable taking into account

         1.     any broad categories of work specified in the contract of employment and

         2.     the job title and

         3.     the normal duties of similar employees.

         So they will find it more difficult to show just cause.

         34308 – 34309


         Trade dispute
34310    If a claimant had taken employment without knowing that it is vacant because of a
         trade dispute stoppage (see DMG 34403 - 34404), and left on discovering that fact,
         the claimant has just cause for leaving.


         Conditions which conflict with trade union policy
34311    A claimant will not have just cause for leaving employment because the trade union
         objected to

         1.     the demarcation of duties at the place of employment or

         2.     the claimant working with non union members

         even if the trade union advised or told the claimant to leave.




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         Example 1

         Marc Sowerby, an apprentice printer is told by his union to leave his employment
         after his employer’s name is removed from a list of fair employers because the
         employer is accused of breaking various rules and regulations. Marc does not have
                                                                 1
         just cause merely because his union told him to leave .
                                                                                   1 CU 248/49 (KL)


         Example 2

         Colin Dunne, a carpenter works for a firm who do not recognise his union and do
         not follow the union rules of demarcation of duties. He leaves his employment
         because, whilst he is sick, a labourer is allowed to finish the job he was working on.
                                                    1
         Colin does not have just cause for leaving .
                                                                                        1 R(U) 18/52


34312    A trade union objection will sometimes lead to a stoppage of work. If this happens,
         the decision maker may have to consider whether the claimant is involved in a trade
                1
         dispute (see DMG 34223).
                                                                            1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 16


34313    If the dispute or disagreement between the trade union and the employer was about
         the claimant alone, just cause depends on what the claimant’s grievance was, and
         what efforts were made to sort it out.


         Trade union membership and health and safety
                                        1
34314    Industrial Relations legislation states an employee’s rights in connection with trade
         union membership and activities and health and safety (see DMG 34120 - 34126).
         In view of these provisions it is unlikely that claimants will be able to show that they
         were forced by their employer or trade union into leaving employment because they
         had joined or refused to join a union, unless a closed shop agreement is in
         operation. But if claimants exercised their rights under the legislation against the
         employer’s wishes, the employer may have behaved in a way that gives the
         claimant just cause for leaving employment.

         Example

         Derek White is a recently elected trade union official at the company where he
         works. His union arranges for him to attend a training course in industrial relations
         in a months time, which his employer agrees he can attend. On the Friday before
         the course is due to start his employer asks Derek to cancel the course as they
         want him to come in to work because they are busy. He refuses and attends the
         course and the employer deducts a weeks pay from his wages and moves him to a



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Decision Makers Guide                                          Terms and conditions of employment



         job with a lower rate of pay. The union try all means available to get the employer
         to pay his wages and move him to his old job but the employer refuses. Derek
         leaves his job. He has just cause for leaving. Trade union officials have a right to
                                                                                                   2
         reasonable time off work to attend union approved training in industrial relations .
                                                           1 IR (NI) Order 1993; 2 The IR (NI) Order 1993


34315    Claimants have not left employment voluntarily if
                                      1
         1.       they were dismissed or

         2.       they left as an alternative to dismissal because a closed shop agreement
                  came into force and they refused to join a trade union.
                                                                                             1 R(U) 2/77

         34316


         Other terms and conditions which affect a claimant’s
         personal freedom and beliefs
34317    Claimants will have just cause for leaving if the employer ordered them to do
         something that conflicted with their sincerely held religious or conscientious
         principles. The decision maker should use the guidance at DMG 34480 - 34482.

34318    DMG 34317 may also apply where claimants left employment because they

         1.       objected to medical examinations or injections or

         2.       were genuinely afraid that the examinations or injections would cause them
                  harm.

34319    But if

         1.       the requirement to have a medical examination or injection was reasonable
                  and

         2.       the claimant’s reasons for refusing were only dislike or some irrational
                  excuse
                                                       1
         then the claimant does not have just cause .
                                                                                            1 R(U) 16/52


         34320 – 34322


         Short-time and overtime working
34323    A claimant does not have just cause for leaving just because

         1.       overtime stopped or reduced and the earnings were less or




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         2.     short-time working was introduced, and the claimant could not earn full
                wages (but see DMG 34265).

         A claimant may have just cause because of short-time working if there was a firm
         offer of better paid employment elsewhere.

34324    But if claimants’ earnings were substantially reduced and they had a lot of
         expenses because of living and working away from home, they may have just
         cause if

         1.     redundancies were clearly likely and the claimants thought they would find
                employment very soon or
                                                                                         1
         2.     they were working part-time, and left to take up full time employment .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 4/73


34325    If claimants left employment because they disliked working overtime, whether they
         have just cause depends on

         1.     the reason they were unwilling to work overtime and

         2.     the amount of the overtime working and how long it was due to last for and

         3.     what they were obliged to do under their contracts of employment.

34326    If claimants left employment only because they wanted to work overtime, or more
         overtime, see DMG 34333 - 34334. If claimants lost employment because they
         refused to work overtime, the question of whether they have lost employment
         through misconduct should be considered, if appropriate.

         34327 – 34328


         Retirement and resignation
34329    Claimants who reached normal retirement age for their employment, but did not
         have to retire, will not have just cause for leaving if they retired because

         1.     they wanted to or

         2.     they wanted to get their pension.

         It will not help such claimants to say that they would have continued working on
         certain conditions (for example that they could get their lump sum pension) if this
         was not acceptable to the employer.

34330    The decision maker is not deciding whether it was reasonable and proper for
         claimants to retire on pension. The decision maker is deciding whether, if claimants
         chose to retire, it is reasonable that they should be allowed to benefit from the
                                    1
         National Insurance fund . If claimants left to get lump sum payments because they


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         were in financial difficulties, see DMG 34353. If staying in employment would have
         meant that they had different conditions of employment, see DMG 34259 and DMG
         34298 - 34300.
                                                                                      1 R(U) 26/51


34331    Where the claimant gives other reasons for leaving employment on reaching
         retirement age, they should be considered in the normal way.

         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the case law
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Elizabeth Gascoigne, a police officer, aged 52, retires on maximum pension after
         30 years’ service. She leaves because she does not want to stand in the way of
         younger officers’ promotion prospects, and because she believes she has a better
         chance of getting another job than she would if she waited 3 years until compulsory
         police retirement age. She does not register for employment or make any other
         efforts to find any other work before leaving. Elizabeth does not have just cause for
                 1
         leaving .
                                                                                      1 R(U) 23/59


         Example 2

         Joe Morrison, a police officer, aged 51, retires on maximum pension after 30 years
         service.    If he had stayed at work, his terms of employment would have been
         financially less attractive.   He leaves because he wants to obtain a lump sum
         payment of pension with which to buy a house for himself and his wife, and to make
         his wife more financially secure. He had tried very hard to find other work before
         leaving, but had not been successful. Joe does not have just cause for leaving, but
         the fact that he had a difficult decision to make, and had made efforts to find other
                                                                                  1
         employment are taken into account when deciding the period of sanction .
                                                                                       1 R(U) 4/70



         Early retirement
34332    Sometimes an employer runs an early retirement scheme to speed up normal
         wastage.        A claimant who left on such a scheme will not have just cause just
         because the employer wanted, and indeed may have encouraged, the claimant to
         retire early.

         Example

         George Chivers, a school teacher, aged 62, applies for early retirement after
         reading a circular from his Local Education and Library Board on early retirement.



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         The Education Authority accepts his application and certifies that his leaving allows
         them to carry out their services more efficiently. He has no pressing personal or
         domestic circumstances for leaving, and has no reasonable chance of finding other
                                                       1
         work. George has no just cause for leaving .
                                                                             1 R(U) 3/81 Appendix



         Leaving to take better paid or preferred employment
34333    A claimant may have left employment, not because there was a fault with it, but
         because the claimant wanted a different type of work. In such a case the claimant
         will only have just cause if there was a firm offer of new employment which the
         claimant could reasonably have expected would start immediately and would last
         for a long time.

34334    Claimants may have left employment because they wanted employment that
         offered

         1.     improved prospects or

         2.     the chance to improve their career or

         3.     full time instead of part-time work.

         In such cases claimants will have just cause if they had offers or strong
         expectations of such employment which would start very soon. Sometimes there
         may have been a risk of occasional unemployment in the new employment (for
         example because it depended on the weather). If claimants claimed Jobseeker's
         Allowance within 26 weeks of leaving their original employment in these
         circumstances they should not normally be sanctioned.


         Leaving to take up training
34335    If claimants left employment just before they started a course of study or training
         that would advance their careers, they have just cause. But if the questions have
         been referred to the decision maker for a decision, the decision maker should
         consider availability, and whether they are full-time students, during the period of
         the course. If claimants left employment to take a government sponsored training
         course the decision maker should decide that they had just cause for leaving
         employment, unless there is strong evidence to the contrary.

         34336 – 34338




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         Personal and domestic circumstances
34339    A claimant’s personal or domestic circumstances may have become so urgent that
         the claimant will have just cause for leaving employment without having looked for
         other employment. But if there was no urgency, the claimant should have taken all
                                                                                    1
         reasonable steps to avoid leaving, or the claimant will not have just cause . In some
         cases the claimant’s reasons for leaving may show that the claimant is not available
         for employment.
                                                                                  1 R(U) 20/64(T)


         The facts in the following examples are not exactly the same as the case law
         quoted.

         Example 1

         Megan Twiddy, a school teacher leaves her employment to look after her youngest
         child, as there is no one else available to do so. Megan has just cause for leaving
                                                                1
         employment, but availability will have to be considered .
                                                                                        1 R(U) 6/59


         Example 2

         Patrick Turner, a painter who lives and works in Northern Ireland leaves
         employment to go to Scotland because his father is dying. Before he leaves he
         asks his employer about employment when he returns. But when he comes back,
         there is no vacancy because of a redundancy. Patrick has just cause for leaving
                        1
         employment . Asking his employer about employment when he returned amounted
         to asking for a leave of absence.
                                                                                    1 R(U) 32/59


         34340 – 34341


         Moving home
34342    If claimants moved home to a place beyond daily travelling distance of their
                                                                           1
         employment, that alone does not give them just cause for leaving . But the decision
         maker will need to find out the reasons for the move. If there was some urgent
         personal reason for moving, for example

         1.     the claimant or partner was ill or

         2.     their current accommodation was totally inadequate or

         3.     they lost their accommodation




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         they will have just cause for leaving.
                                                                                    1 R(U) 20/64(T)


         Example

         Matthew Rushpool lives in 2 attic rooms with his wife and year old baby. He gets a
         house, but it is too far away from the place he works to allow him to travel daily. He
         has not found work in the town he is moving to. Matthew leaves his job and moves
                                                          1
         to the new house. He has just cause for leaving .
                                                                                      1 R(U) 31/59


34343    If the reasons for moving are not quite enough to establish just cause, the decision
         maker should consider how likely the claimant was to get other employment quickly,
         and what steps had been taken to obtain other employment. But the decision maker
         should bear in mind that it would be difficult to organise buying or renting
         accommodation to start on exactly the same date as a new job.

         Example

         Andy Legg, a police sergeant buys his own house.            Nearly a year later he is
         transferred to a different place of work, which he finds it difficult to travel to and
         from. He makes enquiries of other employers, but retires voluntarily from the police
         force after 25 years service before having found other employment. He finds other
         work 2 weeks later. Andy does not have just cause for leaving, but the facts of the
                                                                             1
         case are taken into account in deciding the period of the sanction .
                                                                                    1 R(U) 20/64(T)


34344    In all cases where claimants say they left employment because of moving home, the
         decision maker will need the following information

         1.     the reason for the move

         2.     the date of the move

         3.     the date on which the claimants gave notice to end the employment

         4.     the date on which the claimants first knew they would be moving and, if the
                new home is being bought, the date on which contracts were exchanged

         5.     what efforts the claimants made to find employment in the new area between
                the dates in 4. and 2..

34345    Sometimes, although the reasons for the move would seem to amount to just cause,
         the claimant may fail to show just cause overall because, for example the claimant

         1.     did not make any attempt to find new employment in the new area before
                moving, despite having ample notice of the move or




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         2.     left employment before it was necessary to do so.

34346    The decision maker should take into account

         1.     the distance and the practicality of going to interviews in the new area

         2.     the difficulty of arranging everything for a particular date

         3.     the possibility of daily travelling, at least for a temporary period (Chapter 07 et
                seq), if the distance is not too great

         4.     the employment prospects in the new area.

         There is no general rule in this type of case, and while one fact alone may not give
         just cause, all the facts together may do so.            The claimant’s availability for
         employment may be in doubt for the days surrounding the move.

34347    Claimants have often left employment to

         1.     marry, form a civil partnership or join someone who lives in an area beyond
                daily travelling distance or

         2.     go with a partner who takes employment in another area or

         3.     move to another area where there is more suitable accommodation.

         To show just cause such claimants must show that they had done everything
         reasonably possible to find employment in the new area which they could start
         immediately after moving.


         Partner going abroad

34348    Claimants may have left their job to go with a partner whose employment takes
         them abroad. In these circumstances it may not be reasonable for claimants to take
         steps to find work abroad before leaving the UK (see DMG 070880). If they left
         employment no earlier than was reasonably necessary in order to arrange the
         move, then they will have just cause. But in such cases availability for employment
         will often be in doubt. Claimants cannot show just cause if they left employment
         earlier than they needed to.

         Example

         Frances Murphy leaves employment 10 days before leaving the UK (DMG Chapter
         07) to go with her husband, a Royal Air Force officer, to a posting in Holland. She
         leaves when she does to make the arrangements for going abroad. Frances has
                                1
         just cause for leaving .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 2/90




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         Moving with parents

34349    Sometimes claimants have given up employment to accompany their parents when
         they moved home to another area. If claimants are under 18, and their parents
         objected to them living and working away from home, they will have just cause for
         leaving their employment. Claimants 18 or over may also have just cause if they, or
         their parents can show that there was a strong reason why they should have
         continued to live with their parents.        Some examples of reasons which would
         amount to just cause are where claimants

         1.      have to be with their parents because of the parents’ age and health or

         2.      need their parent’s help or guidance or

         3.      would have a lot of difficulty and expense (compared with their earnings) if
                 they lived somewhere else until they found other employment in the new
                 area.

34350    A less strong reason for moving with parents will not amount to just cause.

         Example

         Glenys Murray, a typist, aged 21, lives with her parents. They move home. She
         leaves her employment to move with them because they object to her living on her
         own.    She does not make any efforts to find lodgings so that she can stay in
         employment whilst she looks for work in the new area. Glenys does not have just
                                          1
         cause for leaving employment .
                                                                                                   1 R(U) 6/53


         34351


         Financial difficulties
34352    The fact that

         1.      the claimant’s earnings were reduced because of

                 1.1     an alteration in the terms and conditions of employment or

                 1.2     short time working or
                                                                                                            1
         2.      the claimant would be better off financially if claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance

         does not by itself give the claimant just cause for leaving.
                                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9); R(U) 10/61(T); R(U) 15/62




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34353    Sometimes claimants were not dissatisfied with their earnings. But they left to get
         extra money, for example a lump sum or holiday pay which would be paid when the
         employment ended, to meet some financial difficulties. They will have just cause
         only if they were unexpectedly faced with urgent financial difficulties which could not
         be resolved in any other way. They will not have just cause if

         1.     they left only to

               1.1      gain a financial advantage or
                                                        1
               1.2      avoid a financial disadvantage or

         2.     they have had financial difficulties for a long time and they are due mainly to
                their failure to manage their finances.
                                                                             1 R(U) 14/55; R(U) 4/70


         34354 – 34355


         Claimant’s health
34356    If claimants’ employment was

         1.     beyond their physical or mental capacity or

         2.     so harmful to their health that it was unreasonable to expect them to stay
                there until they had other jobs

         they have just cause for leaving it.

34357    The best evidence is confirmation from the claimant’s doctor that

         1.     the work was harmful to the claimant’s health or

         2.     the doctor advised the claimant to leave.

         The decision maker should check any medical evidence to make sure that it is
         relevant to the claimant’s capacity to do the job in question.

34358    If medical evidence is not available, the facts may still allow the decision maker to
         decide that the claimant had just cause for leaving. The decision maker can accept
         that there is just cause, without requesting medical evidence, where

         1.     the work itself or

         2.     the place the claimant works in

         made the medical condition worse.




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                 August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                       Personal and domestic circumstances



34359    Where just cause is not shown, but it is clear that claimants genuinely believed that

         1.     the work or the place of work was making their health worse or

         2.     they could not do the job properly because of their health

         the decision maker may take this into account when deciding the period of the
         sanction.

         Example

         Bob Crake, a book-keeper leaves his job because it was causing him stress and he
         was worried about his ability to do the job. He does not provide any evidence about
         this, and his employer has never complained about his work. He later produces a
         medical certificate that says he should not walk much because of an old hip injury.
         But his job does not involve a lot of walking. He has not found another job to go to
         when he leaves. Bob does not have just cause for leaving, but the fact that he is
         genuinely worried about whether he can do the job is reflected in the period of the
                  1
         sanction .
                                                                                     1 R(U) 13/52


34360    A decision maker should never decide to impose a sanction based on medical
         evidence which could not be shown to the Social Security Appeal Tribunal because
         the claimant does not agree to it being shown. See Chapter 02 et seq for guidance
         on whether medical evidence should be treated as confidential.

34361    Where a claimant

         1.     was suffering from pneumoconiosis on its own or with tuberculosis and

         2.     had

               2.1      a certificate of suspension or

               2.2      a letter of advice

                issued by a medical board

         the decision maker should follow the guidance at DMG 34472 - 34474 to decide
         whether the claimant has just cause for leaving employment.

         34362 – 34363


         Living away from home
34364    Claimants who had to live away from home permanently, or for long periods, have
         just cause if they had to leave their employment because

         1.     they were urgently needed at home or



Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                               August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                       Personal and domestic circumstances



         2.     their expenses for living away were unreasonably high when compared to
                their earnings.

         Example

         Ross McDonald, aged 61, has to live in lodgings 113 km (70 miles) away from his
         wife, Maureen aged 68. He tries to find her accommodation with him and to get a
         job near his home, but is unsuccessful. His wife falls ill, and there is no one to care
         for her, so he leaves his employment to look after her. Ross has just cause for
                1
         leaving .
                                                                                     1 R(U) 14/52


34365    A long period of working away from home may also provide just cause for leaving
         employment.      When deciding this, the decision maker should take all the
         circumstances into account, including

         1.     what opportunity there was to look for other work while still in employment

         2.     the claimant’s chances of getting work nearer home

         3.     whether the claimant could have found accommodation for the family nearer
                the employment.

         A short period of working away from home does not give the claimant just cause for
         leaving employment, unless there are other urgent reasons for leaving.


         Long daily journey to work
34366    Claimants who live in remote places must expect to put up with a lot of
         inconvenience and expense in travelling daily to work. But they will have just cause
         for leaving if, taking their personal and domestic circumstances into account

         1.     they could not move their homes nearer to work and

         2.     the travelling took up an unreasonably high part of their earnings and
                prevented them from looking for work nearer home.

         34367 – 34368


         Long or awkward working hours
34369    Claimants are expected, within reason, to organise their domestic lives to suit their
         working hours. But they have just cause if

         1.     it became essential for them to reduce or alter their working hours (for
                example because a relative is ill) and

         2.     they tried but were unable to get their hours changed.



Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                               August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                         Personal and domestic circumstances


         Trial period
34370    DMG 34234 et seq gives details of the trial period rule which applies to certain
         claimants. In addition to this, just cause can be considered where any claimant has
         entered employment on a trial basis. Unemployed persons should be encouraged
         to take a chance and try different employment if work in their own line is not
         available; they should not be dealt with too severely if the experiment fails.

           Example

           Sheila resigned from her employment as a trainee office manager after six weeks
           of a probationary period of three months had elapsed because she concluded that
           she was not suited to the work and considered it unfair to her employers to
           continue training when she believed the work to be beyond her capacity. The
           decision maker decides that the claimant acted in a responsible manner and had
                                                   1
           just cause for leaving the employment .
                                                                                          1 R(U) 3/73


34371    However claimants do not show just cause for leaving their employment merely
         because they find it distasteful or it turns out below their expectations.

         34372 – 34378




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                 August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                           Chances of getting other employment




         Chances of getting other employment
34379    If the circumstances in which a claimant left employment fall just short of providing
         just cause, the decision maker should take into account the claimant’s chances of
         getting other employment, including self employment quickly.            When looked at
         together these may mean that the claimant has acted reasonably in leaving and
                                               1
         becoming dependent on the NI fund .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 4/73


34380    How good the chances of getting other work will vary from case to case. Claimants
         will have just cause if

         1.     there was a promise of continuous employment, which was expected to last
                for some time, to start in the near future or

         2.     they got another job and the circumstances in which they left employment
                almost amounted to just cause.

         Claimants will not have just cause if they hoped they would get other employment
         quickly, but the evidence does not support this.

34381    The decision maker should take the following into account when deciding what
         weight to give to the claimant’s prospects or lack of prospects

         1.     the claimant’s occupation, or type of employment sought if different

         2.     the chances of getting such employment

         3.     the area where the claimant lived compared to the area where the claimant
                wanted to work, if different

         4.     whether it would have been easy or difficult for the claimant to find new
                employment while staying in the existing employment

         5.     the results of any enquiries the claimant had already made about other
                employment

         6.     the claimant’s work record.

34382    The date at which the claimant’s chances of getting other employment should be
         considered is the date on which the claimant

         1.     gave notice to leave or

         2.     took the action that led to leaving employment or

         3.     left employment, if it is to the claimant’s advantage.




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                   April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                         Chances of getting other employment



34383    Claimants never have just cause for leaving if their only reason for leaving was
         because they had a good chance of getting other employment or they are claiming
         Jobseeker’s Allowance only for a very short time.


         Firm offer of other employment
34384    Claimants may have left employment because they had firm offers of other
         employment to start at once. But such claimants may have to claim Jobseeker’s
         Allowance because

         1.      the offers fell through unexpectedly or

         2.      the new employment did not last very long.

34385    Such claimants will have just cause for leaving unless

         1.      the offers were cancelled before they left their existing employment and

                 1.1    they could have stayed in their existing employment or

                 1.2    they did not ask their employer whether they could stay or

         2.      they changed their minds and decided not to take the new job and 1.1 or 1.2
                 applies.

34386    Sometimes claimants have left employment because they had firm offers of other
         employment to start shortly, but not immediately. They may then claim Jobseeker’s
         Allowance because

         1.      they changed their original intention not to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance
                 during the interval or

         2.      the offer fell through and they are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for longer
                 than they expected.

         They do not have just cause for leaving, because they left their original employment
         before they needed to. But if claimants would have had just cause under DMG
         34384 if the offers had been to start at once, the decision maker should limit the
         period of the sanction to the length of the interval which the claimants originally
         thought would occur between the employments.           If this is less than 1 week, a
         sanction of 1 week should be imposed.

         34387




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                 April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                     Introduction




         Refusing employment

         Introduction
34388    Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable if a claimant has without good cause

         1.     refused or failed to apply for a job or
                                                                        1
         2.     refused to accept a job which was offered .

         For general guidance on the length of a sanction, and when it should begin, see
         DMG 34040 - 34058. Hardship payments may be made in certain circumstances.
                                                             1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & (6)(c) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(f)


34389    The job must be
                                                              1
         1.     in employed earner’s employment and
                                                              2
         2.     vacant or about to become vacant and
                                                                                 3
         3.     notified to the claimant by an employment officer .
                     1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4); 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(c) & 22A(2)(f); 3 art 21(6)(c) & 22A(2)(f)

                                                     1
34390    A sanction can only be imposed if

         1.     the claimant is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and

         2.     the claimant was notified by an employment officer of employed earner’s
                employment which was vacant or about to become vacant (DMG 34394 -
                34399) and

         3.     the claimant

               3.1       refused or failed to apply for the vacancy or

               3.2       refused to accept the vacancy when it was offered (DMG 34400 -
                         34402) and

         4.     the job was not vacant because of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute
                (DMG 34403 - 34404) and

         5.     the claimant does not have good cause for the refusal or failure (DMG 34406
                - 34562).
                                    1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & 21(6)(c) & 22(1) & 22A(1); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                                September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                           Introduction



         Proof

34391    Once it has been decided that the vacancy was employed earner’s employment
         (see DMG 26010) the decision maker has to show that the conditions in DMG
         34390 1. - 4. are met. The claimant then has to show good cause for the refusal or
         failure (DMG 34390 5.).

         34392 – 34393




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                       September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                  Notified by an employment officer




         Notified by an employment officer

         Employment officer
                                                                                                     1
34394    An employment officer is any officer who acts on behalf of the Department . The
                                                                                             2
         legislation allows other people to be authorised as employment officers .

         For the purposes of sanctions only, the Department has authorised people who
         work in the Careers Service giving careers or employment advice as Employment
         Officers. The Department has authorised local authorities participating in ONE, the
         Department Employment and Learning, the Department of Finance and Personnel
         or the Housing Executive to perform the following functions of Employment Officers:

         1.     specifying the place and time at which a claimant is to attend

         2.     notifying a claimant of a place on training scheme or employment programme
                and

         3.     notifying a claimant of an employment opportunity.
                                           1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(10)(a) & 22A(9); 2 art 21(10)(a) & 22A(9)



         Notification
34395    The claimant may be notified

         1.     personally when attending the Jobs and Benefits Office or elsewhere or

         2.     by letter or

         3.     by telephone.

34396    If the notification is sent by post, the claimant may not get it because of

         1.     a move of home or

         2.     an absence from home

         which has not been notified to the relevant Jobs and Benefits Office. The decision
         maker should decide that the claimant has been notified on the day on which the
         notification would have been delivered to the claimant’s old address in the normal
         course of post.

34397    The decision maker should take into account the fact that a claimant does not
         receive the notification, and the reasons why, in deciding

         1.     good cause and



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                            April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                           Notified by an employment officer



         2.     the length of any period of sanction.

34398    Claimants need not be given complete and precise details of the vacancy. But they
                                                                       1
         must be given enough details to enable them to pursue it . Claimants will have
         been notified even if they are given incorrect details about a vacancy.
                                                                                      1 R(U) 32/52



         Self-service vacancies

34399    A claimant reading a job advertisement displayed in a Jobs and Benefits Office by
         itself does not amount to notification by an employment officer. There must be
         some communication between an employment officer and the claimant about the
         vacancy.




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                              Refusal or failure




         Refusal or failure
34400    Claimants may not actually refuse or fail to apply for or accept a vacancy. Failure to
         apply includes not taking the appropriate steps to apply such as attending an
         interview. But they may behave in such a way that they lose the chance of getting
         the vacancy. For example they may

         1.     not arrive on time for interview or go to the wrong place through their own
                negligence or

         2.     impose unreasonable conditions, so that the employer withdraws the job offer
                or

         3.     make statements which, although reasonable in themselves, are intended to
                put the prospective employer off.

         These actions amount to refusals or failures. But if any statement under 3. was
         reasonable in the circumstances, and it was not made only to put the employer off,
         the claimants have not refused the vacancy.          Also, claimants will have failed to
         accept a vacancy if they accept the job when it is offered, but then fail to start it.

         Example 1

         Margaret Jones is looking for work as supervisor in a bank, and has been getting
         Jobseeker's Allowance for 6 months. She is offered a job as a bank clerk at an
         interview. She tells the person interviewing her that she will take the job, but will
         only stay until she finds a job as a supervisor. The employer decides not to give her
         the job. The decision maker decides that Margaret has not refused the vacancy.

         Example 2

         Pauline Gordon is offered a job. She says that she wants 3 weeks holiday within a
         month of starting.     The employer withdraws the offer of a job.          Her attitude is
                                                                                           1
         unreasonable, and Pauline has refused an offer of a job without good cause .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 23/51


         Example 3

         Peter Smyth refuses to complete a form before he is interviewed for a vacancy.
         Because of this, the employer will not interview him. Peter has failed to apply for a
                                       1
         vacancy without good cause .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 32/52


         Note: Decision makers should remember, when reading the caselaw above, that
         references to the employment having to be suitable no longer apply.



Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                    April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                             Refusal or failure



         Example 4

         The Training and Employment Agency/Jobs and Benefits Office gives George an
         application form for a job in a local factory. George completes the application form
         and sends it to the employer.

         George has written on the application form, in the space provided for additional
         information,

         "I am frequently advised by personnel managers and other simple-minded people
         that "it is easier to get a job if I have one already". Why is it easier??

         What do you expect the unemployed to do about it?

         There will always be long term unemployed until you buck up your ideas!!"

         The employer does not invite George for an interview.             The decision maker
         sanctions George for failing to apply for the job.


         Claimants change their mind
34401    Claimants who have refused or failed to apply for or accept a vacancy may change
         their minds and apply for or accept it before

         1.     it has been filled and

         2.     the job was due to start and

         3.     that application is accepted for consideration by the employer.

         In such cases claimants have not refused or failed to apply for or accept the
         vacancy.

34402    If

         1.     claimants change their minds as in DMG 34401 after the decision maker has
                imposed sanctions or

         2.     the decision maker imposes sanctions without being aware that claimants
                have changed their minds

         the decision maker should consider revising or superseding the original decision in
         the claimant’s favour.




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                   April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                              Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage




         Job vacant because of a trade dispute
         stoppage
34403    Claimants cannot be sanctioned just because they refuse or fail to apply for or
                                                                                                      1
         accept a job that is vacant because of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute .
         This applies even if the fact is not known at the date of refusal, but comes to light
         later. If a sanction has already been imposed, the decision maker should consider
         revising or superseding the original decision in the claimant’s favour.
                                                                  1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(1) & 22B(1)


34404    For the job to be vacant because of the trade dispute stoppage

         1.      the stoppage must exist at the time the vacancy is notified or offered. It is
                 not enough that there is a trade dispute, or that a stoppage seems imminent
                 and

         2.      the vacancy must have been caused by the stoppage. This will not be the
                 case if

                 2.1    the vacancy was caused by the illness of an employee, even if there is
                        a stoppage of work at the employer’s premises or

                 2.2    the vacancy arose normally after the stoppage had ended and the
                        places of the employees affected by the trade dispute had been filled
                        or

                 2.3    the vacancy arose because an employee left a job where there was no
                        stoppage in order to take a job where there was a stoppage.

         34405




Volume 6 Amendment 21                                                                     April 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                            Good cause - introduction




         Good cause - introduction                               [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75]

34406    Legislation details circumstances which
                                              1
         1.     give a claimant good cause (DMG 34413 - 34437) and
                                                      2
         2.     do not give a claimant good cause (DMG 34438 - 34459) and

         3.     the decision maker should take into account when deciding whether or not the
                                          3
                claimant has good cause (DMG 34465 - 34512) and

         4.     the decision maker should not take into account when deciding whether or not
                                                  4
                the claimant has good cause (DMG 34561 - 34562).
                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(4) & 72(5); 2 reg 72(6) & 72(7); 3 reg 72(2) & 72(3);
                                                                          4 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9)


34407    In addition, claimants will give reasons for what they have done or failed to do,
         which the decision maker will have to consider and may decide to take into account
         when deciding whether the claimants have good cause (DMG 34526 - 34558).
         Good cause means some fact that looking at all the circumstances (including the
         information which claimants received or might have obtained), would probably have
         caused a reasonable person of the claimant's age and experience to act (or fail to
                                  1
         act) as the claimant did .    A genuinely held subjective belief does not in itself
         amount to reasonableness.

         Example

         Helene is notified of a vacancy as a nursery nurse. The job is described as “an
         experienced nursery nurse for a children’s day nursery”. Helene fails to apply for
         the vacancy, believing that she had no chance of obtaining the job as she had only
         recently qualified. Although she genuinely believed she would not be suitable it was
         not reasonable to assume so without making further enquiries.

                                                                                  1 CS 371/49(KL); R(SB) 6/83



         Claimant given incorrect details of employment
34408    Claimants may refuse or fail to apply for or accept a vacancy, and it may later be
         found that they have been given incorrect details about the vacancy.

34409    The decision maker should impose a sanction if

         1.     the claimant cannot show good cause for refusing a job on the terms wrongly
                notified and
                                                                                         1
         2.     the actual terms of the job would have been more favourable .
                                                                                                  1 R(U) 20/55




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                                            August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                                Good cause - introduction



34410    The decision maker should not impose a sanction if the claimant can show good
         cause for refusing a job on the terms wrongly notified. The decision maker does not
         need to consider whether the claimant could have shown good cause for refusing
         the job had the actual terms been known.

         Example

         An Employment officer telephones Dan Butcher at home to tell him about a vacancy
         as a packer in a local meat factory. The employment officer mistakenly tells Dan
         Butcher the rate of pay is £5 per hour. The actual rate is £5.50 per hour. Dan
         refuses to apply for the vacancy because in his last job, which ended 2 weeks ago,
         he was paid £5.50 per hour as a packer. The decision maker, when considering
         whether or not Dan Butcher has good cause, treats the vacancy as if it was paying
         £5 per hour.

         34411 – 34412




Volume 6 Amendment 22                                                             August 2007
Decision Makers Guide                                               Claimants who have good cause




         Claimants who have good cause

         Claimants who have done training
34413    If claimants have trained for a particular kind of employment for two calendar
                 1
         months or more

         1.     they will have good cause if they refuse or fail to apply for or accept
                employment of any other kind and

         2.     the decision maker should not impose a sanction.

         Claimants will only have good cause for four weeks starting with the day on which
                           2                                                             3
         the training ends . Week here means any period of 7 consecutive days .
                                                   1 CG 66/49(KL); 2 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(4); 3 reg 75(2)


         Example 1

         Janet Harris starts a training course to become a secretary on 21st October. It
         finishes on 20th December. She claims Jobseeker’s Allowance on 23rd December
         and is offered a job as a cashier in a bank. Janet has good cause for turning the job
         down, as the secretarial training course lasted for exactly 2 calendar months.

         Example 2

         John Webster trains to be a motor mechanic for a year, and the course ends on
         Friday 18th October. He claims Jobseeker’s Allowance on Monday 21st October.
         On Friday 15th November he is offered a job as a barman.                  He turns it down
         because he only wants to work as a motor mechanic, having spent a year training
         for this. John does not have good cause, as the period of 4 weeks for which he
         would have had good cause ended on Thursday 14th November.

34414    Training is not defined in the legislation, and should be given its normal everyday
         meaning. It includes, for example

         1.     New Deal

         2.     training funded by the European Social Fund

         3.     training undertaken with the help of a career development loan

         4.     training which claimants pay for themselves.

         This list is not exhaustive.

         34415 – 34420




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                  September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                               Claimants who have good cause


         Permitted period
34421    If claimants

         1.     are in their permitted period (see DMG 21379 - 21389) and

         2.     have restricted the type of employment they are available for, to employment

               2.1      in their usual occupation (see DMG 21397 - 21408) or

               2.2      at a level of pay that they are used to receiving or

               2.3      in their usual occupation and at a level of pay that they are used to
                        receiving and

         3.     refuse or fail to apply for or accept employment because it does not meet the
                conditions at 2.1 to 2.3

                                                                                               1
         they will have good cause. The decision maker should not impose a sanction .
                                                                       1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(a) & 16



         Laid off and short-time workers
34422    If claimants (see DMG Chapter 21)

         1.     are laid off and

         2.     are being allowed to and do in fact restrict the employment they are willing to
                take to

               2.1      the job they are laid off from or

               2.2      casual employment within daily travelling distance of home and

         3.     refuse or fail to apply for or accept employment because it does not meet any
                of the restrictions claimants imposed within 2.1 to 2.2

                                                                                               1
         they will have good cause. The decision maker should not impose a sanction .
                                                                       1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(a) & 17


34423    If the claimants are (see DMG 21327 - 21330)

         1.     on short-time and

         2.     are being allowed to and do in fact restrict the employment they are willing to
                take to

               2.1      the job they are on short-time in or

               2.2      casual employment within daily travelling distance of home for the
                        hours they are not working in their short-time employment and




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                 September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                Claimants who have good cause



         3.     refuse or fail to apply for or accept employment because it does not meet any
                restrictions claimants imposed within 2.1 to 2.2
                                                                                                 1
         they will have good cause, and the decision maker should not sanction them .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(a) & 17



         Employment of less than 24 hours a week
34424    If

         1.     it has been agreed that the claimant can restrict the hours of availability to
                                                             1
                less than 24 hours in a benefit week , for example because of caring
                responsibilities and

         2.     the employment on offer is for less than 16 hours a week

         the claimant will have good cause for refusing or failing to apply for or accept that
                         2
         employment . Where a case does not fall within 1. and 2. above, if a claimant
         refuses or fails to apply for or accept employment that is for less than 24 hours a
                                                   3
         week, the claimant will have good cause .
                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(3); 2 reg 72(5A)(a); 3 reg 72(5A)(b)



         Shifts or rota systems

34425    If the employment on offer requires work on a shift or rota system where the
         claimant would have to work for 24 or more hours in some weeks, and less than 24
         hours in others, the hours should be averaged. A claimant who refused or failed to
         apply for or accept such employment would have good cause, and the decision
         maker should not impose a sanction.            A week here means any period of 7
                             1
         consecutive days .
                                                                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(2)


34426    This guidance should also be applied when considering whether employment is for
         less than 16 hours a week.


         Claimants who have caring responsibilities or do
         voluntary work
34427    If a claimant

         1.     has caring responsibilities (see DMG 21265 et seq) or does voluntary work
                (see DMG 21265 et seq) and

         2.     refuses or fails to apply for or accept employment because it would be
                necessary to start it within one week




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                    September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                          Claimants who have good cause



         the claimant will have good cause, and the decision maker should not apply a
                  1
         sanction .
                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(b) & 5(1)


         Example

         Dave Brooks does voluntary work for the National Society for the Prevention of
         Cruelty to Children on Monday and Wednesday. On Thursday he is offered a job
         that starts on Friday. He refuses to take the job as he says he will not be able to
         organise someone to take over his voluntary work on Monday. As he is given less
         than a week’s notice from the time he is offered the job, he automatically has good
         cause.


         Claimants who have caring responsibilities for a child
34428    If a claimant

         1.    has caring responsibilities for a child (see DMG 21265 et seq) and

         2.    is permitted to take up employment on being given 28 days notice and

         3.    refuses or fails to apply for or accept employment because it would be
                necessary to start it within 28 days

         the claimant will have good cause and the decision maker should not apply a
                  1
         sanction .
                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(b) & 5(1A)



         Claimants who provide a service
34429    Where a claimant

         1.     is providing a service (see DMG 21274)

               1.1       whether under a contract or not and

               1.2       with or without pay and

         2.     refuses or fails to apply for or accept employment because it would be
                necessary to start it within 24 hours

         the claimant will have good cause, and the decision maker should not apply a
                  1
         sanction .
                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(5)(b) & 5(2)




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         Claimants who work and have to give notice
34430    If

         1.      claimants work in employed earner's employment of less than 16 hours a
                 week and

         2.      have to give notice to end their employment

         they are allowed, in certain circumstances, not to have to be immediately available
                                               1
         for employment (see DMG 21298) .              Such claimants will have good cause for
         refusing or failing to apply for or accept employment if their reason for doing so was
                                                                                                       2
         that they would not have been able to work out their notice in the job they have .
                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 5(3); 2 reg 72(5)(b) & 5(3)


         34431


         Claimants who do not have to take employment at
         certain times
34432    Certain claimants can agree to restrict their availability to particular days of the
         week, and hours of the day (see DMG Chapter 21 for guidance on when these
                                                   1
         claimants can restrict their availability) . Such claimants will have good cause for
         refusing or failing to apply for or accept employment if their reason for doing so was
         that they were required to take up employment at a time when they had agreed they
                             2
         were not available .
                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 5(4), 7, 13 & 17; 2 reg 72(5)(b)



         Education-based New Deal for 25 year olds and over
34433    Claimants participating in education-based New Deal for claimants aged 25 and
         over as a full-time student may (see DMG Chapter 14) have good cause for refusing
                                                                 1
         or neglecting to avail themselves of employment if

         1.      they refused employment or neglected to avail themselves of employment
                 within a period of four weeks before the end of the qualifying course or
                 examinations or

         2.      the employment is not

                 2.1    casual employment in a vacation from the qualifying course or

                 2.2    permanent remunerative work.

         (see DMG Chapter 20 for the meaning of remunerative work).
                                                                                   1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(3A)



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         Anti social behaviour order
34434    Claimants may refuse employment because it would mean that they would break
         their anti social behaviour order, taking into account any necessary travelling time.
         If claimants have tried unsuccessfully to rearrange their anti social behaviour order
         they would have good cause for refusing employment.


         Working Time Regulations 1998
34435    The Working Time Regulations 1998 provide that a worker’s working time, including
         overtime, shall not exceed an average of 48 hours for each seven days (the average
         being calculated over a 17 week period) except where a worker has agreed with his
         employer in writing that this limit should not apply in his case.

34436    A jobseeker has good cause for refusing employment of over an average of 48
         hours per week if he gives the number of hours as his reason for refusal,
         irrespective of whether he selected the vacancy himself, applied for the job or
         attended an interview being fully aware of the hours required.


         National minimum wage
34437    Claimants have good cause for refusing employment if they do so because

         1.     the national minimum wage applies to them and

         2.     the employment does not pay at least the national minimum wage that applies
                to them.

         Note: If the claimant refuses employment wholly for other reasons, for example the
         work was too far from home, then the fact that the national minimum wage was not
         being paid will not give the claimant good cause.




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         Claimants who do not have good cause

         Income or outgoings
34438    Claimants do not have good cause if they refuse or fail to apply for or accept
         employment because of

         1.     their income or outgoings or

         2.     the income or outgoings of any other member of their household or

         3.     the income or outgoings which they or any other member of their household
                                                            1
                would have if they become employed .

         Membership of the household is explained at DMG 22041 et seq.                            A person's
         outgoings do not include any expenses taken into account as in DMG 34504 or
                        2
         DMG 34507 .
                                                                   1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(a); 2 reg 72(6)(a)


34439    Examples of reasons which are linked to income and outgoings, and which would
         therefore not give the claimant good cause are

         1.     very high financial commitments

         2.     a member of the household has very high living expenses

         3.     the claimant or another member of the household will lose the right to other
                benefits etc which are available to jobseekers.


         Exceptions

34440    DMG 34438 does not apply where
                                                                   1
         1.     the employment is paid only by commission or

         2.     the claimant has agreed a restriction on the level of pay because the claimant

               2.1      is in the permitted period (DMG Chapter 21) or
                                                                                        2
               2.2      has a physical or mental condition (DMG Chapter 21) or
                                                        3
         3.     DMG 34504 or DMG 34507 applies .
                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(7)(b); 2 reg 72(7)(a); 3 reg 72(2)(f) & 72(2)(g)




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         Travelling time
34441    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] Claimants will not have good cause if they refuse or fail
         to apply for or accept employment because of the time it would normally take for
                                                                                           1
         them to travel from their homes to the places they will have to work and back .
                                                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)



         Exceptions

34442    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] A claimant may have good cause, if any of the following
                               1
         circumstances apply

         1.     the travelling time is normally

                1.1     one hour or more each way where the claimant is in the first 13 weeks
                        of entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance or

                1.2     one and a half hours or more each way where the claimant is outside
                        the first 13 weeks of entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance

                by a route and means of travel which is appropriate to the claimant’s
                circumstances and to the employment or

         2.     the travelling time is otherwise unreasonable because of

                2.1     the claimant’s health or

                2.2     any caring responsibilities the claimant has (see DMG 21125 - 21131).
                                                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)



         Each way

34443    If the journey to work would take one hour or more or one and a half hours or more,
         and the journey home would take less than one hour or one and a half hours (or
         vice versa), the claimant may have good cause and the decision maker should take
         it into account.


         Normally

34444    If a journey normally takes less than an hour or one and a half hours, but may
         occasionally take more than an hour or one and a half hours, then the claimant will
         not have good cause.




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         Travelling time

34445    Travelling time

         1.     includes the time spent waiting for transport connections after the journey
                has started

         2.     does not include any time spent waiting between the end of the journey and
                the start of work or vice versa, for example because the first convenient bus
                or train home leaves a long time after the working day would end. But if such
                a delay is very long, then the decision maker can take it into account as in
                DMG 34496 - 34499.

         34446 – 34447


         Place of employment

34448    The place of employment is the premises or place, for example a factory or shop,
         where claimants would have been employed had they accepted the employment. In
         the case of mobile workers such as bus drivers, street cleaners etc., it is the base
         from which they would start their day’s employment.


         Route and means appropriate

34449    A claimant cannot argue that it would take an hour or more or one and a half hours
         or more to travel to and from the employment by a particular route and means of
         transport, if there is another route or means of travel which it is appropriate to use,
         which would take less than an hour or an hour and a half.

34450    The decision maker should decide whether the route and means of travel are
         appropriate taking into account the claimant’s circumstances and the employment in
         question. If several means of travelling to and from work would be available to the
         claimant, the decision maker should consider the costs and convenience to decide
         whether any or all of them would be appropriate.

34451    If the employer would have provided transport, for example a work bus, that would
         be an appropriate means.

34452    If other forms of transport are not available, it is reasonable to expect a healthy
         person with no disabilities to spend up to an hour each way walking to and from
         work in the absence of any objections. For example, a claimant should not have to
         walk in the dark through a dangerous inner city area.




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34453    A claimant would not be expected to try to make private arrangements to get a lift on
         a permanent basis if this would be the only means by which the journey to and from
         work would take less than an hour without unreasonably high expense.

         34454 – 34457


         Health and caring responsibilities

34458    The decision maker should obtain details of

         1.     the claimant’s health problems and how they affect the claimant’s ability to
                travel or

         2.     the extent and nature of the claimant’s caring responsibilities (see DMG
                Chapter 21), and how they affect the time for which it is reasonable for the
                claimant to travel.

         The decision maker should then take all the facts into account and decide whether
         in view of the claimant's health or caring responsibilities the journey would take an
         unreasonable time.


         Period of sanction
34459    Where regulations provide that a reason cannot of itself be good cause, it may still
         be taken into account, with all the other facts of the case, when deciding the length
         of any period of sanction.

         34460 – 34464




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         Good cause - matters to take into account
34465    A decision maker has to take into account the matters outlined in the legislation
                                     1
         when deciding good cause - there is no automatic provision for good cause. DMG
         34526 - 34558 give examples of reasons other than those provided for in legislation,
         which may be relevant in deciding the question of good cause.
                                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2) & (3)



         Restrictions on availability
34466    If a claimant has imposed any of the restrictions outlined in DMG Chapter 21 on
         availability, the decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause
         how much the terms and conditions of the employment on offer differ from those
                     1
         restrictions .

         Note: Types of jobs entered into the "types of job I am looking for" box on the
         jobseeker’s agreement are not necessarily restrictions.
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(a)


         Example 1

         Marilyn Robinson has always worked as a senior manager, earning about £350 per
         week. She becomes unemployed and makes a claim to Jobseeker's Allowance.
         She agrees with an employment officer that she will restrict the type of employment
         she wants to jobs which pay at least £350 a week. 4 months after making a claim
         she is offered a job as a senior manager for £345 per week, which she turns down
         only because it was not offering £350 per week. The decision maker decides that
         Marilyn does not have good cause, as there is very little difference (£5 per week -
         only about 1% of the wage she wanted) between the job she was offered and her
         restrictions.

         Example 2

         Chris Gould, who is single with no dependants agrees with an employment officer to
         restrict his availability to jobs within 32 km (20 miles) of where he lives. He has his
         own car, which he has said he will use to travel to work. He is offered a job in a
         factory 33 km (20.5 miles) from where he lives, which will normally take 40 minutes
         by car. He turns the job down only because it is outside the distance he wants to
         travel. The decision maker decides that Chris does not have good cause, as there
         is very little difference (1km (0.5 of a mile) - only 2.5% of the distance he was willing
         to travel) between the job he was offered and his restrictions.




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34467    The decision maker may take into account restrictions imposed when a claimant is
         participating in education based New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over (see
         DMG Chapter 14).


         Significant harm to health or unreasonable physical or
         mental stress
34468    The decision maker must take into account when deciding good cause any condition
         or personal circumstance of the claimant which shows that a particular employment
         would be likely to cause

         1.     significant harm to the claimant’s health or
                                                                     1
         2.     the claimant unreasonable physical or mental stress .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(b)



         Significant harm to health

34469    The best evidence is confirmation from the claimant’s doctor that the employment is
         likely to cause significant harm to the claimant’s health. The decision maker should
         check any medical evidence provided to make sure that it is relevant to the type of
         employment in question.

34470    If medical evidence is not available, the facts may still allow the decision maker to
         decide that the claimant had good cause. The decision maker can accept good
         cause, without requesting medical evidence, where

         1.     the employment itself or

         2.     the place the claimant would have had to carry out the employment

         would have made the medical condition worse.           For example, a claimant with
         asthma, is offered employment working in a dusty atmosphere.

34471    The decision maker should never decide to impose a sanction based on medical
         evidence which could not be shown to the tribunal because the claimant does not
         agree to it being shown. See DMG Chapter 02 et seq for guidance on whether
         medical evidence should be treated as confidential.

34472    Claimants who suffer from pneumoconiosis or pneumoconiosis and tuberculosis
         may hold

         1.     a certificate of suspension (issued before 27.11.74) or

         2.     a letter of advice.




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         These documents are issued by a medical board. A certificate of suspension tells
         the person to give up employment in a stated industry, and not to take employment
         in certain occupations. A letter of advice advises the person whether it is safe to
         work in a particular occupation.

34473    The decision maker should accept that the claimant has good cause if the claimant

         1.     holds a certificate or letter and

         2.     refuses employment of a type listed in the certificate or letter.

         If the claimant refuses employment of another type, and the decision maker is not
         sure whether it would harm the claimant’s health, a medical adviser should be asked
         whether the claimant’s health would be at risk if the claimant accepted the
         employment.

34474    The employment must be likely to cause significant harm to the claimant’s health.

         Example

         Don Mainwaring refuses to apply for a job in the Royal Ordnance factory because
                                                                                            1
         there has recently been an explosion there. Don does not have good cause .

         Note: The caselaw quoted was decided before legislation required the decision
         maker to take likely significant harm to a claimant’s health into account.
                                                                                           1 R(U) 32/56



         Unreasonable physical or mental stress

34475    If employment would be likely to cause significant harm to the claimant’s health, it
         will usually also be likely to cause unreasonable physical or mental stress.             But
         sometimes a particular employment would be likely to cause unreasonable stress
         without being likely to cause significant harm to the claimant’s health. For example,
         claimants may be likely to suffer

         1.     excessive physical stress if they

               1.1      are disabled and take employment which is physically hard or

               1.2      take employment which means they have to work at night, but they find
                        it difficult to sleep during the day or

         2.     unreasonable mental stress if they work somewhere they dread, for example
                an abattoir or an undertaker's.

34476    Where good cause is not shown, but the claimant genuinely believes that a
         particular employment is likely to cause

         1.     significant harm to the claimant’s health or



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         2.     the claimant unreasonable physical or mental stress

         the decision maker should take this into account when deciding the period of the
         sanction.

         34477 – 34479


         Sincere religious or conscientious objection
34480    If a claimant refuses or fails to apply for or accept employment because of any
         religious or conscientious objection, which the claimant sincerely holds, the decision
                                                                            1
         maker should take this into account when deciding good cause .
                                                                            1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(c)


34481    Claimants cannot show good cause just by saying, for example, that they
         conscientiously object to doing a certain employment. They must

         1.     show that one or more of the terms and conditions of the employment
                conflicts with the principles on which their objection is based and

         2.     give enough evidence to satisfy the decision maker that their religious or
                conscientious objection is sincerely held.

34482    The following are examples of religious or conscientious objections which may
         provide good cause

         1.     an objection to employment that involves the handling or supply of alcohol,
                cigarettes or tobacco

         2.     a religious objection to being in employment on a particular day each week

         3.     an objection to employment with something which may be used to destroy life
                - whether human or animal

         4.     A religious objection to being in employment with members of the opposite
                sex.

34483    A principled objection is not the same as a conscientious objection. The terms and
         conditions of the employment must require the claimant to act in a way which is
                                                      1
         contrary to their ethical or moral principles .
                                                                                          1 R(JSA) 7/03


         34484 – 34486




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         Caring responsibilities
34487    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any caring
         responsibilities (DMG Chapter 21) which would make it unreasonable for the
                                                   1
         claimant to take a particular employment .

         Note: Do not take account of domestic duties.
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(d)


34488    If a claimant has caring responsibilities for a child in considering whether those
         responsibilities would made it unreasonable the decision maker should have regard
         to whether

         1.    child care would not be or was not reasonably available or

         2.    if it was available or would have been available it was, or would have been
                                                                                   1
                unsuitable due to the claimant’s needs or the needs of the child .
                                                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2A)



         Unreasonable

34489    The claimant’s caring responsibilities must make it unreasonable to take the
         employment. Inconvenience will not be good cause. A claimant should do all that is
         reasonably possible to fit in responsibilities with the employment on offer. But the
         claimant is not expected to take employment where the hours are so long or
         inconvenient that the claimant could not carry out the caring responsibilities.

34490    If claimants are responsible for children who are under school age or still at school,
         they cannot show good cause because they have to supervise them at certain times
         unless they can show that there is no reasonable alternative. The decision maker
         should ensure that claimants have taken reasonable steps to secure appropriate
         and affordable child care. For example options such as

         1.    day nurseries

         2.    breakfast and after school clubs

         3.    child care schemes

         4.    registered childminders

         5.    the help of friends or relatives

         should be considered and reasons given if claimants state they are not suitable.
         This list is not exhaustive.




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         Example

         Diane is a lone parent with one son, aged 14. She has been notified of a job for 25
         hours per week earning £145 per week. She will need after school care for 2 hours
         each day. The adviser has referred her to the Children’s Information Services to
         obtain details of the child care schemes available in the area and has explained the
         financial help available for child care costs through tax credits. Diane refuses the
         job as she states that the childminders in the area have no vacancies for the times
         she needs, the after school club is full and there are no friends or family who can
         look after her son. The decision maker considers that Diane has good cause for
         refusing the job.

34491    Good cause may be shown where the claimant refuses employment which would
         involve, for example

         1.     employment at night or

         2.     a very early start or late finish to the employment, or other unsocial hours or

         3.     overnight stays away from home

         and it would not be practicable for anyone else to take over the claimant’s caring
         responsibilities at these times.

         Example

         Yvonne Madder, who has a young baby, refuses employment which begins at 7.15
                                        1
         am. Yvonne has good cause .

         Note: The case law quoted was decided before legislation required the decision
         maker to take the claimant’s caring responsibilities into account.
                                                                                         1 R(U) 20/60

         34492 – 34495


         Travelling time          [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75]

34496    DMG 34441 - 34458 give guidance on when the time it would take a claimant to
         travel from home to work and back cannot be good cause.                 Subject to that
         guidance, the decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause
         the time it would normally take the claimant to travel from home to the place of
         employment and back by a route and means appropriate to the claimant’s
                                                1
         circumstances and to the employment .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(e)




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34497    For guidance on the meaning of

         1.     travelling time see DMG 34443 - 34445

         2.     place of employment see DMG 34448

         3.     route and means appropriate see DMG 34449 - 34453.

                                                                1
34498    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] DMG 34441 - 34453 does not mean that where
         normal travelling time from home to work and back would exceed an hour or an hour
         and a half each way, the claimant must have good cause. But the decision maker
         should accept that the claimant has good cause in such circumstances, unless it
         would be reasonable to expect the claimant to undertake a journey of more than an
         hour or an hour and a half either way.        Some examples of where it may be
         reasonable for the claimant to travel for more than one hour or an hour and a half
         either way include where the claimant

         1.     is restricting availability to the type of employment offered, although other
                types of employment are available nearer home

         2.     previously had regular employment which involved travelling for more than an
                hour or an hour and a half either way, and there is no evidence that the
                claimant found this unreasonable

         3.     lives in a remote location in which people usually have long journeys to work

         4.     is in the process of moving home to within an hour’s or an hour and a half’s
                travelling distance of the employment, so the longer journey would be for a
                short time only

         5.     would have to make a journey which takes less than an hour or an hour and a
                half in one direction, and only slightly more than an hour or an hour and a half
                in the other direction.
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)


34499    A claimant has good cause if travelling time, of whatever length, would be
         unreasonable because of the claimant’s

         1.     health or

         2.     caring responsibilities (DMG 34458).

         34500 – 34503




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         Employment expenses
34504    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any
         expenses which

         1.     claimants have to meet only for the purpose of the employment and

         2.     would be an unreasonably high proportion of the expected pay from the
                             1
                employment .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(f)


34505    Expenses which can be taken into account include

         1.     travelling expenses to and from the place of employment by a route and
                                                                    1
                means appropriate to the claimant’s circumstances

         2.     the cost of tools or equipment which the claimant has to provide

         3.     the cost of essential protective clothing, not provided by the employer

         4.     the cost of a criminal record check (known as disclosure).
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(f)


34506    Deductions from wages of tax, national insurance and occupational pension
         contributions cannot be taken into account. This is because they are not expenses
         incurred for the purposes of the employment.


         Child care expenses
34507    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any child
                         1
         care expenses which

         1.    are or would be necessarily incurred as a result of the claimant being in the
                employment and

         2.    did or would represent an unreasonably high proportion of the remuneration
                which it is reasonable to expect that he would receive from the employment.
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(g)


34508    There are no rules for deciding whether expenses would be an unreasonably high
         proportion of remuneration. Each case must be decided on its own facts. But the
         greater the level of remuneration is, the more reasonable it is for the expenses to be
                                  1
         a higher proportion of it .
                                                                             1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(3)




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34509    The decision maker should consider employment expenses as in DMG 34504 and
         child care expenses as in DMG 34507 separately. They should not be aggregated
         when considering good cause.


         Unreasonably high proportion of pay

34510    The expenses must be an unreasonably high proportion of the expected pay if
         good cause is to be shown. Other issues about the level of pay or the claimant’s
         income or outgoings cannot be taken into account.                For example, the claimant
         cannot show good cause by arguing that the expenses are unreasonable because
         the claimant’s

         1.        wages would have been the only income the household has or

         2.        household expenses are particularly high.

34511    There are no rules for deciding whether expenses would be an unreasonably high
         proportion of pay. Each case must be decided on its own facts. But the greater the
         level of pay is, the more reasonable it is for the expenses to be a higher proportion
              1
         of it .
                                                                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(3)


34512    It is reasonable to expect the claimant to spend a higher proportion of earnings on
         travel than is expected of other claimants if the claimant comes within DMG 34498
         1. to 4..

34513    If the claimant would have an expense

         1.        for only a short time, for example where the claimant would have to pay for
                   transport to work initially, but then works transport would be provided after a
                   time or

         2.        as a “one-off”, for example cost of tools

         it would be reasonable for the claimant to spend more to meet such an expense
         than would be the case if the expense would last as long as the employment. The
         decision maker should also take into account that the claimant may be able to meet
         such expenses from a jobgrant.

         34514 – 34525


         Reasons not covered by legislation
34526    The decision maker should

         1.        consider all matters put forward by the claimant, not just those covered in the
                   legislation and


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         2.      decide whether or not to take them into account when deciding good cause.


         Attitude of claimant’s trade union

34527    The fact that
                                                                                                1
         1.      the prospective employer is on the “black list” of the claimant’s trade union or
                                                                                          2
         2.      the claimant refused the employment on union instructions or advice

         does not, of itself, provide good cause.
                                                                             1 R(U) 1/52; 2 R(U) 9/64


         34528


         Possible return to previous employment

34529    The fact that a claimant

         1.      has a previous employment that has not ended and

         2.      may at some time return to it

                                                                                  1
         does not of itself provide good cause for refusing other employment (but see DMG
         34422 - 34423).
                                                                                          1 R(U) 1/52



         Decision of Industrial Tribunal awaited

34530    The fact that a claimant is waiting for the result of an industrial tribunal hearing on
         unfair dismissal does not of itself provide good cause for refusing other
         employment.

         34531 – 34532


         Claimant already working part-time

34533    A claimant who is working part-time and is still entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance
         does not have good cause for refusing other employment just because the claimant
         would have had to give up the part-time job. But see DMG 34430 if the claimant’s
         reason for refusing other employment was that notice had to be given to end the
         part-time job.

34534    If the other employment offered would only have lasted for a short period, and the
         claimant would then have been unable to return to part-time work, the claimant may
         have good cause.




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         Example

         Jack Watt, who is working 4 days a week is offered about 6 weeks full time
         employment in the same type of employment, with a different employer. He is not
         sure that his current employer will take him back on when the full time employment
                                                                                    1
         ends. Jack has good cause for failing to apply for the full time vacancy .
                                                                                         1 R(U) 34/56


         34535


         Temporary employment

34536    Subject to DMG 34534, the fact that the employment offered is only temporary does
                                            1
         not of itself provide good cause . The decision maker should apply the principles in
         Chapter 07 when deciding if something is temporary.
                                                                                         1 R(U) 35/52



         Definite chance of other employment

34537    If the claimant has a definite chance of other employment that

         1.      will start in the very near future and

         2.      is likely to last at least as long as the employment offered and

         3.      will be lost if the claimant accepts the employment offered

         this will be good cause. Whether a chance is definite must be decided on the facts
         of the case.

         34538 – 34539


         Personal preference

34540    Claimants do not have good cause for refusing employment because they
                                                     1
         1.      would prefer another type of work or

         2.      wish to find employment for themselves without the help of the Training and
                                       2
                 Employment Agency .
                                                                         1 CU 3/48 (KL); 2 R(U) 29/53



         Other more suitable people unemployed

34541    A claimant does not have good cause for refusing employment just because there
         are other unemployed people who are more suited to the vacancy. The question is
         whether the claimant has good cause for refusing it.



Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                               September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                    Good cause - matters to take into account



         34542


         Employment which the claimant has previously left

34543    If the claimant has in the past left, or been dismissed from

         1.      the same employment and

         2.      employment with the same employer

         that fact is not in itself good cause. But the circumstances in which the previous
         employment ended may give the claimant good cause for refusing re-employment.

34544    Where the claimant refuses re-employment the decision maker should consider

         1.      all the circumstances surrounding the termination and

         2.      the effect of the termination on the relations between the claimant and the
                 employer.

         34545


         Objection to employer or fellow employees

34546    A claimant may refuse employment because

         1.      the claimant objects to the employer or other employees or

         2.      it would mean working with a person whose conduct is known to be offensive.

34547    In extreme cases the claimant may be able to show that such employment would be
         likely to cause unreasonable mental stress (DMG 34475) or be grounds for a
         sincere religious objection (DMG 34480 et seq). Otherwise, such an objection will
         only be good cause if it is so great that it would be unreasonable to expect the
         claimant to work in those conditions.

         Example

         Terry Rankin has previously left employment because of a personal disagreement
         with a colleague. She is offered a job by a different employer, but finds out that the
         colleague she had the disagreement with is now working there, and will be her
         supervisor. She is still on bad terms with the ex-colleague. She turns the job down.
         The decision maker considers that Terry has good cause.

34548    Unless there are exceptional circumstances, an objection to an employer because
         that employer has previously sacked the claimant does not provide good cause if
         there are no other reasons to consider.

         34549



Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                             September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                      Good cause - matters to take into account


         Claimant does not have necessary equipment

34550    Claimants sometimes say that they are available for a particular type of employment
         where it is customary for employees to have their own tools, special clothes etc. If
         claimants do not have such tools, clothes etc, this will not generally be good cause.
         But in some cases there may be special reasons which will be good cause. For
         example, a claimant’s tools are accidentally destroyed or stolen, and the claimant
         cannot replace them at once. But the decision maker should also take into account
         that the claimant may be able to buy such tools and equipment with a job grant.

34551    It is important to remember that health and safety is the responsibility of employers
         (class 1 employment) and that the provision of suitable protective equipment lies
                            1
         with the employer . Any available information concerning provision of equipment or
         tools should be used to decide whether a jobseeker has good cause for refusing
         vacancies offered.
                                               1 Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations (NI) 1993



         Attending a course of study

34552    Claimants have good cause for refusing employment if it would prevent them from
         finishing a course of study, which they are following to advance or continue their
         careers. In such cases the decision maker may be asked to consider availability.
         They should decide the availability question first.

         34553


         Seafarers

34554    Seafarers may refuse an opportunity to go back to sea because they want to

         1.      change their occupation or

         2.      take shore leave which they are due, and by the time the leave is finished the
                 chance of employment is lost, for example because the ship has sailed.

34555    It is difficult for seafarers who want to change their occupation, particularly if they
         are abroad or at sea, to find alternative employment to start as soon as their
         contract ends. If they

         1.      have taken whatever steps they could and

         2.      seem to have reasonable prospects of finding other employment fairly quickly

         the decision maker should accept that they have good cause.

34556    The decision maker should take into account that seafarers are entitled to some
         leave after voyages. But this does not mean that they have good cause for refusing


Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                    September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                  Good cause - matters to take into account



         chances of employment during any period of leave, regardless of the
         circumstances. They must show that they have not acted unreasonably in making
         themselves a charge on the National Insurance fund.

         34557


         Other reasons

34558    The reasons mentioned in DMG are not exhaustive.         The decision maker must
         consider any other reason the claimant puts forward for refusing or failing to apply
         for or accept employment.

         34559 – 34560




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                      Good cause - matters which cannot be taken into account




         Good cause - matters which cannot be
         taken into account

         Level of pay
34561    The decision maker must disregard anything relating to the level of pay in the
                                                                                                1
         employment in question when deciding whether the claimant has good cause . The
         fact that the pay offered was

         1.     lower than the pay the claimant had previously received or

         2.     not enough to cover the claimant’s financial commitments or

         3.     lower than the pay received by most other employees in that occupation or

         4.     less than the claimant is getting in benefits

         are all related to the level of pay, and must be disregarded.
                                                                   1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(9) & 22A(9)



         Exception

34562    The only exceptions to disregarding the level of pay are where

         1.     the claimant is in the permitted period and the level of pay is lower than the
                claimant is used to getting (DMG 34421) or

         2.     the claimant has expenses which the decision maker can take into account
                (DMG 34504) or

         3.     the claimant is within 6 months of the date of claim, has imposed a restriction
                on pay and still has reasonable prospects of getting employment (DMG
                34466)

         4.     the claimant refused employment because

                4.1      the national minimum wage applies to them and

                4.2      the employment does not pay at least the national minimum wage
                         that applies to them.

         Note: If the claimant refuses employment wholly for other reasons, for example the
         work was too far from home, then the fact that the national minimum wage was not
         being paid will not give the claimant good cause.

         34563 – 34565




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                 Introduction




         Neglect to avail

         Introduction
34566    Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable if claimants have, without good cause,
         neglected to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of employed earner's
                        1
         employment . For general guidance on the length of a sanction, and when it should
         begin, see DMG 34040 - 34058.                Hardship payments may be made in certain
         circumstances.
                               1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & (6)(d) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(g); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4)

                                                 1
34567    A sanction can only be imposed if

         1.     the claimant is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and

         2.     a vacancy in a qualifying former employed earner’s employment existed
                (DMG 34596 - 34572) and

         3.     the claimant knew, or had the means of finding out how to get the job (DMG
                34573 - 34576) and

         4.     the chance of getting it by that means was a reasonable one (DMG 34577 -
                34576) and

         5.     the claimant did not take the steps necessary to make use of the opportunity
                (DMG 34573 - 34576) and

         6.     the claimant was not in a trial period (DMG 34581) and

         7.     the job was not vacant because of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute
                (DMG 34582) and
                                                                                                        1
         8.     the claimant does not have good cause for the neglect (DMG 34583) .
                             1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1), 21(6)(d), 22(1)&(3) & 22A(1), 22A(2)(g), 22B(1) & 22B(3);
                                                                              JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4); reg 72(8)&(9)

         Proof
34568    The decision maker may determine whether employment was employed earner’s
         employment (see DMG 26010). The decision maker has to show that the claimant
         left employment voluntarily. The claimant then has to show just cause for leaving.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                               Qualifying former employment




         Qualifying former employment
34569    Unless there is a vacancy which is in a qualifying former employment, the claimant
                                                                               1
         will automatically have good cause and should not be sanctioned . A vacancy is in
                                             2
         a qualifying former employment if

         1.     it is employment

               1.1      with an employer who the claimant has previously worked for or

               1.2      with an employer who has succeeded that employer and

         2.     there has not been more than one year between

               2.1      the date on which the claimant last worked for the employer and

               2.2      the date when the question of a sanction arises and

         3.     the terms and conditions of the employment are not less favourable than they
                were when the claimant last worked for that employer.
                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(8); 2 reg 72(9)


34570    Most claimants who neglect to avail themselves of a qualifying former employment
         are

         1.     those who have been temporarily laid off by their employer because no work
                is available for them, and who do not return to their employment when work
                becomes available or

         2.     women who do not return to work following maternity leave.


         Date last worked for employer
34571    The date on which the claimant last worked for the employer is the date on which
         the claimant last attended work. Days after the last attendance are irrelevant, even
         if they were days for which the claimant received wages.


         Date on which sanction question arises
34572    The date on which the question arose is the date on which the Department learned
         that the claimant had neglected to avail themselves of employment.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                               September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                        Meaning of neglect




         Meaning of neglect

         Claimant knew about employment, or could have found
         out
34573    Claimants can be sanctioned if they knew employment was available to them, even
         if the decision maker cannot show whether, or when, it was notified to them by the
         employer. This may happen if, for example

         1.     claimants are temporarily laid off because their employer has no work for
                them, but they do not go back to work when it becomes available again

         2.     women do not return to work after maternity leave.


         Women on maternity leave
34574    Where

         1.     a woman does not return to work after maternity leave and

         2.     her contract of employment continues during the period of maternity leave

         the decision maker can also impose a sanction for leaving voluntarily without just
               1
         cause if the question is referred for decision. But if the contract continues, it does
                                                                                                         2
         not prevent the decision maker considering a sanction for neglect to avail . If the
         decision maker finds it difficult to decide whether the contract continued, the
         decision maker can make a decision on neglect to avail to avoid the need to decide
         this question.
                     1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1)&(6)(b) & 22A(1) & 22A(2)(e); 2 art 21(1)&(6)(d) & 22A(1) & (2)(g)



         Unreasonable behaviour
34575    If claimants behave unreasonably and, as a result, lose the chance of employment,
         the decision maker can decide that the claimants have neglected to avail
         themselves of employment.

         Example

         Guy Taylor, a teacher, refuses to register with the General Teaching Council for
         Scotland. As all teachers have to register to remain teachers, he is sacked. He has
         neglected to avail himself of employment, as he knew he could keep his job or
                                              1
         return to it, if he had registered .




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                           Meaning of neglect


                                                            2
         Also, see the examples 2. and 3. at DMG 34400 . In both cases the claimant has
         also neglected to avail.
                                                                1 R(U) 5/71; 2 R(U) 23/51; R(U) 32/52



         Guidance on refusing employment applies
34576    The guidance at DMG 34400 - 34402 on failure or refusal and claimants who
         change their mind, also applies to neglect to avail.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                              September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                    Reasonable opportunity




         Reasonable opportunity
34577    The opportunity of employment must be a reasonable one. The word reasonable
         should be given its ordinary meaning, that is, sensible or likely. An opportunity may
         not be reasonable if there were, for example, over a 100 applicants for the
                 1
         vacancy . If the employment offered a rate of pay below the national minimum
         wage, it would not be a reasonable opportunity of employment.
                                                                                     1 R(U) 9/72


34578    The claimant’s personal or domestic circumstances are not relevant when deciding
                                                               1
         whether an opportunity of employment is reasonable . But they may be relevant
         when deciding good cause.
                                                                                     1 R(U) 9/72


         34579 – 34580




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                     Trial period




         Trial period
                                                                                 1
34581    Claimants cannot be sanctioned if they are within a trial period (DMG 34234 -
         34239).
                                           1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(3) & 22B(3); JSA Regs (NI), reg 74




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                          Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage




         Job vacant because of a trade dispute
         stoppage
                                                               1
34582    The guidance at DMG 34403 - 34404 should be followed .
                                                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(1) & 22B(1)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                              Good cause




         Good cause
34583    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] The guidance at DMG 34406 - 34562 should be
                 1
         followed . Unless the employment in question is a qualifying former employment
         (DMG 34596 - 34572) the claimant will automatically have good cause.
                                                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(8) & (9)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                         September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                              Introduction




         Refusal or failure to carry out a
         jobseeker’s direction

         Introduction
34584    Jobseeker’s Allowance is not payable if a claimant has, without good cause, refused
         or failed to carry out a jobseeker’s direction. The jobseeker’s direction must be
                                                                                           1
         reasonable, taking the claimant’s circumstances into account .                          For general
         guidance on the length of a sanction, and when it should begin, see DMG 34013 -
         34037. Hardship payments may be made in certain circumstances. (See DMG
         34588 - 34589 for guidance on Back to Work Sessions.)
                                                        1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & (5)(a), 22A(1) & 22A(2)(a)


34585    The jobseeker’s direction must be

         1.     in writing and

         2.     given

               2.1      by an employment officer and

               2.2      with a view to

                        2.2.a    helping the claimant find employed earner’s employment or
                                                                                                   1
                        2.2.b    improving the claimant’s chances of being employed .
                                                 1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(10) & 22A(9); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(4)

                                             1
34586    A sanction can only be imposed if

         1.     the claimant is entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and

         2.     the claimant was given a jobseeker’s direction as in DMG 34584 (DMG 34591
                - 34595) and

         3.     the jobseeker’s direction was reasonable, taking the claimant’s circumstances
                into account and

         4.     the claimant refused or failed to carry out the jobseeker’s direction (DMG
                34601 - 34605) and

         5.     the jobseeker’s direction was given to help them find a specific employed
                earner’s employment, the employment in question was not vacant because of
                a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute (DMG 34606) and




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                          September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                         Introduction



         6.      the claimant does not have good cause for the refusal or failure (DMG 34607
                 - 34643).
                                                      1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1), 21(5)(a), 21(10) & 22(1)
                                                & 22A(1), 22A(9), 22A(2)(a), 22B(1); JSA Regs (NI), reg75(4)



         Proof
34587    The decision maker determines whether employment was employed earners
         employment (see DMG 26010). The decision maker has to show that the other
         conditions in DMG 34586 1. to 5. are met. The claimant then has to show good
         cause for the refusal or failure.


         Back to Work Sessions
34588    From 6.4.09 claimants can be directed to attend Back to Work Sessions. If Back to
         Work Sessions help claimants find employment or improve their chances of finding
                                                                                                 1
         employment, they should meet the requirement to be a jobseeker’s direction .
                                                                            1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(10)(b)

                                         1
34589    Back to Work Session means a seminar or appointment referred to as a “Back to
         Work Session” arranged by or on behalf of the Department to

         1.      provide a person who attends with information, support and advice to help
                 them find employment or

         2.      improve their chances of finding employment.
                                                                                   1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 1(2)


         34590




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                    September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                         Jobseeker’s direction




         Jobseeker’s direction
34591    For guidance on the meaning of an employment officer see DMG 34394.

34592    A jobseeker’s direction in writing will be a document that asks or advises claimants
         to take a particular course of action that can help them find employment or improve
         their chances of being employed. Examples of jobseeker's directions are written
         directions or requests from employment officers to the claimant to

         1.     attend for interview at a given time at the Jobs and Benefits Office or
                elsewhere about

               1.1      an existing vacancy for a job that the claimant might be able to get or

               1.2      a course to help the claimant prepare a curriculum vitae

         2.     apply for a vacancy advertised in the local press or at an office of the
                Department

         3.     make a speculative approach to an employer, for example by sending a
                curriculum vitae

         4.     register with a specialist employment agency

         5.     go to an interview to see if the claimant will be accepted for a job skills course

         6.     attend a course on job search skills

         7.     go on certain Department for Employment and Learning programmes

         8.     join a job club

         9.     telephone the Training and Employment Agency/Jobs and Benefits Office on
               a certain day from a payphone using a free phone number, to enquire about
               vacancies or training programmes (claimants who live in remote areas and/or
               those for whom access to the Training and Employment Agency is difficult

         10.    attend a Back to Work Session.

         Note: This is not an exhaustive list. It is up to the decision maker to consider what
         is a reasonable request in each specific case taking into account the individual
         circumstances of the case. The test is whether the decision maker is reasonably of
         the view that it will help a particular claimant get employment in the specific
         circumstances and that the claimant has no good cause for failing to comply with the
         request.

34593    If an employment officer gives or sends a letter to a claimant asking them to attend
         at the Training and Employment Agency/Jobs and Benefits Office or other place
         without explaining why, or just tells them to telephone but does not tell them why



Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                              September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                         Jobseeker’s direction



         this will not be a jobseeker's direction. The jobseeker's direction must explain why
         the jobseeker is being directed to attend a particular place.

         Example

         Dear M

         When you are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must make suitable efforts to
         find a job and put yourself in the best position to get offers of work.

         To assist your search for and/or improve your prospects of being employed, I am
         directing you to take the action stated below:

         Discuss training opportunities in hairdressing at your interview with Mr Brown at
         10.30am on 3/2/97 at Anytown Training Centre, 5 High Street, Anytown or

         To attend a New Deal Induction day on Tuesday 6 March at the XX, High Street,
         Anytown, from 9.45am to 2.00pm or

         To attend a basic skills assessment at XX Training Services on Thursday 14/2/02 at
         14.00pm or

         To attend a Careers Choice pre-induction event at Kent Street Resource Centre on
         Wednesday 22/5/02 at 10.30am or

         To attend the programme centre at 1 High Street, Anytown on Tuesday 21/5/02 at
         11.00am to help and support you in your search and return to work.

         If you refuse or fail to carry out this jobseeker’s direction and cannot show good
         cause for this or that it is unreasonable in your circumstances, you could lose
         Jobseeker’s Allowance/National Insurance credits.         I will interview you again at
         (time) on (date) at the above address to discuss how you got on with carrying out
         this direction.

34594    A jobseeker's direction has to be reasonable, for example a written notice requiring
         a claimant to use a public telephone at a specific time would not be reasonable as
         the phone could be in use. A reasonable jobseeker’s direction would be to direct a
         claimant to use a public telephone within a specified time band.

34595    If an employment officer gives or sends a letter asking the claimant to come to the
         Jobs and Benefits Office other place to discuss

         1.     how to find employment or

         2.     how to improve their prospects of getting employment




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                              September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                         Jobseeker’s direction



         and the claimant does not attend, then the decision maker may also consider
         whether the claimant is entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance because the claimant has
                        1
         failed to attend . The decision maker should decide the entitlement question first.
                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 23, 23A & 25(1)(a)



         Claimant does not receive jobseeker's direction
34596    The decision maker should follow the guidance at DMG 34396, but not the guidance
         at DMG 34397 because non receipt cannot be taken into account when deciding
         the period of the sanction, because the sanction here is for a fixed period.

         34597 – 34600




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                               September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                           Refusal or failure




         Refusal or failure
34601    The guidance at DMG 34400 applies if the Jobseeker's direction was to ask the
         claimant to contact an employer or a training provider in some way.


         Claimants change their mind
34602    If claimants who refuse to carry out a jobseeker's direction

         1.     change their minds and

         2.     can still achieve something by following the jobseeker's direction and

         3.     notify an employment officer that they have changed their minds

         they have not refused to carry it out.

34603    If claimants who fail to carry out a jobseekers direction

         1.     change their minds and

         2.     can still achieve something by following the jobseeker's direction and

         3.     carry out the jobseeker's direction

         they have not failed to carry it out.

         Example 1

         On Wednesday, Jane is directed to send her curriculum vitae to a local employer,
         which she does not wish to do. The following Tuesday, she changes her mind. She
         can still send her curriculum vitae to the employer, still carry out the jobseeker’s
         direction and still achieve something by doing so.

         Example 2

         On Wednesday, Anita is directed to contact an employer who is advertising a job
         vacancy in the local press.      She does not do so.        The following Tuesday she
         decides that she would like to apply for the job, contacts the employer, however the
         closing date for applications was Friday.        Although Anita can still follow the
         jobseeker's directive, she cannot achieve anything by doing so.

         Example 3

         John lives in a remote area and cannot get into his nearest Jobs and Benefit Office
         at all during the winter months. The Jobs and Benefit Office/Jobcentre sent him a
         letter on Monday telling him to phone them on Thursday between 10am and 11am,
         using the freephone number. This is to discuss a New Deal course that is being run



Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                           Refusal or failure



         in the local village hall, starting on the following Tuesday. John is not interested in
         the course and does not telephone on Thursday as directed. He changes his mind
         and telephones on Friday. Even though they will be able to discuss the New Deal
         course when John rings on Friday, and is still not to late to start it, he has not and
         cannot now follow the jobseeker's allowance direction because it was time specific
         and required him to phone on Thursday between 10am and 11am which he did not
         do.

34604    If

         1.      claimants change their minds as in DMG 34602 - 34604 after the decision
                 maker has imposed sanctions or

         2.      the decision maker imposes sanctions without being aware that claimants
                 have changed their minds as in DMG 34602 - 34604

         the decision maker should consider revising the original decision in the claimant’s
         favour.

         34605




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                            Job vacant because of a trade dispute stoppage




         Job vacant because of a trade dispute
         stoppage
34606    Claimants cannot be sanctioned just because they refuse or fail to carry out a
         jobseeker’s direction which was given to help them find employment in a job that is
                                                                             1
         vacant because of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute (DMG 34403 -
         34404).
                                                                        1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(1)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                Good cause - refusal relates to the employment




         Good cause - refusal relates to the
         employment
34607    A jobseeker’s direction may require a claimant

         1.     to apply for or

         2.     take steps to get

         a particular employment or type of employment. If so, the claimant will have good
         cause for refusing or failing to carry out the jobseeker’s direction if they would have
         had good cause for refusing the employment concerned.              The decision maker
         should follow the guidance at DMG 34406 et seq.

         Example

         Rupert Stark worked as a painter and decorator 5 years ago. He then retrained as a
         furniture restorer, and has worked at this employment for the last 4 years. He
         claims Jobseeker’s Allowance, and agrees with an employment officer that he will
         look for work only as a furniture restorer for 13 weeks.           After 10 weeks, the
         employment officer issues a jobseeker’s direction which requires Mr Stark to go on a
         course to update his painting and decorating skills, as a new employer is moving
         into the area and will have 30 vacancies for painters and decorators. Mr Stark
         refuses to go on the course. Rupert will have good cause. He is being asked to
         take steps (that is go on a training course) to get a particular type of employment,
         but he is in his permitted period, and has restricted the type of employment he is
         available for his usual occupation (DMG 34421).


         Employment of less than 24 hours a week
34608    When deciding good cause as in DMG 34607, the guidance at DMG 34424 - 34426
         should not be followed. The claimant will not have good cause just because the
         employment the jobseeker’s direction was aimed at was for less than 24 hours or 16
         hours a week.


         Period of a sanction
34609    The guidance at DMG 34459 and 34476 should not be followed as the sanction for
         a jobseeker’s direction is for a fixed period.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                              September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                              Good cause - refusal relates to the employment




         National Minimum Wage
34610    A jobseeker’s direction may require a claimant to apply for or take steps to obtain a
         particular job, if

         1.     such a job did not pay at least the national minimum wage for the claimant
                and

         2.     the claimant refused to follow a jobseeker’s direction because of that the
                claimant would have good cause for not following the jobseeker’s direction.

         Note: If claimants refuse to follow a jobseeker’s direction for other reasons, for
         example the employment the jobseeker’s direction was aimed at was too far from
         home, then the fact that the national minimum wage was not being paid will not give
         the claimant good cause.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                    Good cause - refusal relates to the jobseeker’s direction itself




         Good cause - refusal relates to the
         jobseeker’s direction itself
34611    A claimant might refuse or fail to carry out a jobseeker’s direction

         1.     which was not aimed at any particular employment or type of employment or

         2.     because they did not want to carry out the jobseeker’s direction itself (rather
                than having any objection to the employment or type of employment it may
                have led to).

         The decision maker should apply the following guidance when deciding good cause
         in these circumstances.


         Claimants who do not have good cause - income or
         outgoings
34612    Claimants do not have good cause if they refuse or fail to carry out a jobseeker’s
         direction because of

         1.     their income or outgoings or

         2.     the income or outgoings of any other member of their household or

         3.     the income or outgoings which they or any other member of their household

               3.1      would have if they carry out the jobseeker’s direction or
                                                                                 1
               3.2      had whilst they carried out the jobseeker’s direction .

         Membership of the household is explained at DMG 22041 et seq.                       A person's
         outgoings do not include any expenses taken into account as in DMG 34636.
                                                                               1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(a)


34613    Examples of reasons which are linked to income and outgoings, and which would
         therefore not give the claimant good cause, are

         1.     very high financial commitments

         2.     a member of the household has very high living expenses

         3.     the claimant or another member of the household will lose the right to other
                benefits etc. which are available to jobseekers.

34614    DMG 34612 does not apply where

         1.     the claimant has agreed a restriction on the level of pay because the claimant

               1.1      is in the permitted period (DMG Chapter 21) or



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                                                                                     1
               1.2      has a physical or mental condition (DMG Chapter 21) or
                                     2
         2.     DMG 34636 applies .
                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(7)(a); 2 reg 72(2)(f)


         Claimants who do not have good cause - travelling time
         [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75]

34615    Claimants will not have good cause if they refuse or fail to carry out a jobseeker’s
         direction because of the time it would normally take for them to travel from their
                                                                                         1
         homes to the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction and back .
                                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)



         Exceptions

34616    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] A claimant may have good cause if any of the following
                                                                                                  1
         circumstances apply, and the decision maker should take them into account

         1.     the travelling time is normally

               1.1      one hour or more each way where the claimant is in the first 13 weeks
                        of entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance or

               1.2      one and a half hours or more each way where the claimant is outside
                        the first 13 weeks of entitlement to Jobseeker’s Allowance

                by a route and means of travel which is appropriate to the claimant’s
                circumstances and to carrying out the jobseeker’s direction or

         2.     the travelling time is unreasonable because of

               2.1      the claimant’s health or

               2.2      any caring responsibilities the claimant has (DMG 21125 - 21131).
                                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)



         Each way

34617    If the journey to the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction would take one
         hour or more or one and a half hours or more, and the journey home would take
         less than one hour or one and a half hours (or vice versa), the claimant may have
         good cause and the decision maker should take it into account.


         Normally

34618    If a journey normally takes less than an hour or an hour and a half, but may
         occasionally take more than an hour or an hour and a half, then the claimant will not
         have good cause.


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         Travelling time

34619    Travelling time

         1.      includes time spent waiting for transport connections after the journey has
                 started and

         2.      does not include time spent waiting between the end of the journey and
                 starting to carry out the jobseeker’s direction or vice versa, for example
                 because the first convenient bus or train home leaves a long time after an
                 interview or training course would end. But if such a delay is very long, then
                 the decision maker can take it into account as in DMG 34631 - 34634.

         34620


         Route and means appropriate

34621    A claimant cannot argue that it would take an hour or more or an hour and a half or
         more to travel to and from the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction by a
         particular route and means of transport, if there is another route or means of travel
         which it is appropriate to use, which would take less than an hour or an hour and a
         half.

34622    The decision maker should decide whether the route and means of travel are
         appropriate, taking into account the claimant’s circumstances and the jobseeker’s
         direction in question. If several means of travelling to and from the place mentioned
         in the jobseeker’s direction would be available to the claimant, the decision maker
         should consider the costs and convenience to decide whether any or all of them
         would be appropriate.

34623    If other forms of transport are not available, it is reasonable to expect a healthy
         person with no disabilities to spend up to an hour each way walking to and from the
         place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction in the absence of any other objections.
         For example, the claimant should not have to walk in the dark through a dangerous
         inner city area.


         Health and caring responsibilities

34624    The decision maker should obtain details of

         1.      the claimant’s health problems and how they affect the claimant’s ability to
                 travel or




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         2.      the extent and nature of the claimant’s caring responsibilities (DMG Chapter
                 21), and how they affect the time for which it is reasonable for the claimant to
                 travel.

         The decision maker should then take all the facts into account and decide whether
         in view of the claimant's health or caring responsibilities the journey would take an
         unreasonable time.

         34625


         Good cause - matters to take into account

         Significant harm to health or unreasonable physical or mental
         stress

34626    The decision maker must take into account when deciding good cause any condition
         or personal circumstance of the claimant which shows that carrying out the
         jobseeker’s direction would be likely to cause

         1.      significant harm to the claimant’s health or
                                                                           1
         2.      the claimants unreasonable physical or mental stress .
                                                                               1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(b)


         The decision maker should follow the guidance at DMG 34469 - 34471 and 34475.
         References in that guidance to “employment” should be read as references to
         “carrying out the jobseeker’s direction”.


         Sincere religious or conscientious objection

34627    If a claimant refuses or fails to carry out the jobseeker’s direction because of any
         religious or conscientious objection, which the claimant sincerely holds, the decision
                                                                                     1
         maker should take this into account when deciding good cause .                   The decision
         maker should follow the guidance at DMG 34481 - 34482.                   References in that
         guidance to “employment” should be read as references to “carrying out the
         jobseeker’s direction”.
                                                                               1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(c)



         Caring responsibilities

34628    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any caring
         responsibilities (DMG Chapter 21) which would make it unreasonable for the
                                                                  1
         claimant to carry out the jobseeker’s direction .              This is limited to caring
         responsibilities, and does not include other domestic duties. The decision maker



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         should follow the guidance at DMG 34488 - 34490. References in that guidance to
         “employment” should be read as references to “carrying out the jobseeker’s
         direction”.
                                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(d)



         Caring responsibilities for a child

34629    If a claimant has caring responsibilities for a child, in considering whether those
         responsibilities would make it unreasonable the decision maker should have regard
         to whether

         1.      child care would not be or was not reasonably available or

         2.      if it was available or would have been available it was, or would have been
                                                                                       1
                 unsuitable due to the claimant’s needs or the needs of the child .
                                                                               1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2A)


         34630


         Travelling time [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75]

34631    DMG 34615 - 34624 give guidance on when the time it would take a claimant to
         travel from home to the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction and back
         cannot be good cause. Subject to that guidance, the decision maker should take
         into account when deciding good cause the time it would normally take the claimant
         to travel from home to the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction and back by
         a route and means appropriate to the claimant’s circumstances and to carrying out
                                               1
         the jobseeker’s direction in question .
                                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(e)


34632    For guidance on the meaning of

         1.      travelling time see DMG 34617 - 34619

         2.      route and means appropriate see DMG 34621 - 34623.

                                                                    1
34633    [See DMG Memo Vol 6/75] DMG 34615 - 34623 does not mean that where
         normal travelling time from home to the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s direction
         and back would exceed an hour or an hour and a half each way, the claimant must
         have good cause. But the decision maker should accept that the claimant has good
         cause in such circumstances, unless it would be reasonable to expect him to
         undertake a journey of more than an hour or an hour and a half either way. Some
         examples of where it may be reasonable for the claimant to travel for more than one
         hour or an hour and a half either way include where the claimant




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         1.      previously had regular employment which involved travelling for more than an
                 hour or an hour and a half either way, and there is no evidence that the
                 claimant found this unreasonable

         2.      lives in a remote location in which people usually have long journeys

         3.      would have to make a journey which takes less than an hour or an hour and a
                 half in one direction, and only slightly more than an hour or an hour and a half
                 in the other direction.
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(6)(b)


34634    A claimant has good cause if travelling time, of whatever length, would be
         unreasonable because of the claimant’s

         1.      health or

         2.      caring responsibilities (DMG 34624).

         34635


         Expenses

34636    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any
         expenses which claimants have to meet only for the purpose of carrying out the
         jobseeker’s direction, if they would be an unreasonably high proportion of the
                                                                                                    1
         expected income while carrying out the jobseeker’s direction in question .                      The
         expected income will be Jobseeker’s Allowance (and any other benefits etc in
         payment).
                                                                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(f)


34637    Expenses which can be taken into account include

         1.      travelling expenses to and from the place mentioned in the jobseeker’s
                                                                                                           1
                 direction by a route and means appropriate to the claimant’s circumstances

         2.      the cost of clothes for attending interviews

         3.      the cost of a criminal record check (known as disclosure).
                                                                                  1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(f)


34638    The decision maker should take into account when deciding good cause any child
                          1
         care expenses which

         1.      are or would be necessarily incurred carrying out the jobseeker’s direction
                 and




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         2.     did or would represent an unreasonably high proportion of the expected
                income that was or would be received while carrying out the jobseeker’s
                direction.
                                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(2)(g)


34639    The expenses must be an unreasonably high proportion of the expected income if
         good cause is to be shown. Other issues about the claimant’s income or outgoings
         cannot be taken into account. For example, the claimant cannot show good cause
         by arguing that the expenses are unreasonable because the claimant’s

         1.     income would have been the only income the household has or

         2.     household expenses are particularly high.

34640    There are no rules for deciding whether expenses would be an unreasonably high
         proportion of income. Each case must be decided on its own facts. But the greater
         the level of income is, the more reasonable it is for the expenses to be a higher
                         1
         proportion of it .
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 72(3)



         Reasons not covered by legislation

34641    The decision maker should

         1.     consider all matters put forward by the claimant, not just those covered in the
                legislation and

         2.     decide whether or not to take them into account when deciding good cause.

34642    The decision maker should follow the guidance at DMG 34529 - 34552 so far as it is
         relevant to a refusal to follow a jobseeker's direction. In particular claimants may be
         able to show good cause if

         1.     the jobseeker's direction required them to do something on a particular day
                and

         2.     unforeseen circumstances prevented them from doing so on that day.

34643    If claimants refuse or fail to carry out the jobseeker's direction because they do not
         believe that it will help them find employment, they will not usually have good cause.
         This is because

         1.     the employment officer will

                1.1     have looked at claimants’ circumstances before giving the jobseeker's
                        direction and

                1.2     be satisfied that if claimants carried out the jobseeker's direction it
                        might help them find employment and


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         2.     the jobseeker's direction need only be given “with a view” to helping claimants
                                1
                find employment and

         3.     the decision maker does not have to prove that carrying out the jobseeker's
                direction would have resulted in claimants finding employment.

         Claimants need to produce convincing evidence that carrying out the jobseeker's
         direction probably would not have helped them, if they are to show good cause on
         this ground.
                                                                          1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(10)(b)




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Decision Makers Guide                 Sanctions - members of Her Majesty’s Forces and share fishermen




         Sanctions - members of Her Majesty’s
         Forces and share fishermen

         Members of Her Majesty’s Forces

         Leaving voluntarily
34644    The decision maker cannot impose a sanction for leaving voluntarily on serving
                                                                                                             1
         members of Her Majesty’s Forces who are discharged at their own request . The
         decision maker should accept the discharge document signed by or on behalf of the
                                                                2
         Secretary of State as evidence of discharge .
                                                              1 JSA (Members of the Forces) (NI) Regs, reg 5; 2 reg 6



         Misconduct
34645    Serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces who are discharged, cashiered or
         otherwise dismissed because they have been convicted under
                                                 1
         1.     relevant forces legislation or

         2.     proceedings before any civil court

                                                                                                         2
         should be treated as if they have lost their employment through misconduct .
              1 Naval Discipline Act 57; Army Act 55; Air Force Act 55; 2 JSA (Members of the Forces) (NI) Regs, reg 4


34646    A certificate signed by a person authorised by the Secretary of State which gives

         1.     confirmation and

         2.     the date of the

               2.1      discharge or

               2.2      cashiering or

               2.3      dismissal

         is conclusive proof, unless it is proved that the person who signed the certificate
                                                                              1
         was not a person authorised by the Secretary of State .
                                                                       1 JSA (Members of the Forces) (NI) Regs, reg 6


34647    If serving members of Her Majesty’s Forces are dismissed otherwise than outlined
         in DMG 34645, although the decision maker cannot treat them as having lost
         employment through misconduct, the decision maker can consider whether they in
         fact lost their employment through misconduct.



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Decision Makers Guide           Sanctions - members of Her Majesty’s Forces and share fishermen


         Neglect to avail
34648    The decision maker cannot impose a sanction for neglect to avail on serving
                                                                                               1
         members of Her Majesty’s Forces who are discharged at their own request . The
         decision maker should accept the discharge document signed by or on behalf of the
                                                    2
         Secretary of State as evidence of discharge .
                                                  1 JSA (Members of the Forces) (NI) Regs, reg 5; 2 reg 6




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                 September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                      Share fishermen




         Share fishermen
34649    Employment as a share fisherman, even though it is actually self employment, is
                                                                                       1
         treated as employment as an employed earner for all the sanctions questions . So
         all the sanctions questions can apply to a share fisherman and employment as a
         share fisherman. See DMG 27501 et seq for the meaning of share fisherman.
                                                                       1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 160


         34650




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                       September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                         Introduction




         Training scheme and employment
         programme sanctions

         Introduction
34651    Jobseeker's Allowance is not payable if claimants are entitled to Jobseeker's
                     1
         Allowance and have

         1.     lost a place on a training scheme or employment programme through
                                                            2
                misconduct (DMG 34681 - 34682) or

         2.     given up or failed to attend a place on a training scheme or employment
                                                                                         3
                programme without good cause (DMG 34683 - 34691) or

         3.     after being notified by an employment officer of a place on a training scheme
                or employment programme, without good cause (see DMG 34701 - 34702)

               3.1       refused or failed to apply for it or
                                                                 4
               3.2       refused to accept when offered or

         4.     neglected to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of a place on a
                                                                                                          5
                training scheme or employment programme (DMG 34703 - 34704) .

         Note: See DMG 34394 for the definition of an employment officer.
                                                   1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & 22A(1); 2 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c);
                                    3 art 21(5)(b)(iii) & (iv) & 22A(2)(b)(iii) & (iv); 4 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii);
                                                                                          5 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i)


34652    For general guidance on the length of a sanction, and when it should begin, see
         DMG 34013 et seq. Hardship payments may be made in certain circumstances.


         Meaning of training scheme and employment
         programme

34653    The decision maker must be satisfied that the place which claimants lost, gave up,
         failed to attend, refused or neglected to avail themselves of was on a training course
         or employment programme. If not, the decision maker cannot impose a sanction.


         Training scheme

                               1
34654    “Training scheme” means a scheme for training for which persons aged under 18
         are eligible and for which persons aged 18-24 may be eligible. See DMG Chapter
         14 for New Deal for 25 year olds and over. Such schemes are provided by training


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Decision Makers Guide                                                                         Introduction



         organisations through arrangements made with the Department for Employment and
         Learning.
                                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(b)


34655    Training may be provided for young people who

         1.      have reached the minimum school leaving age and

         2.      are not attending school or college full time as a pupil or student and

         3.      are not in higher education and

         4.      are not in custody as prisoners or on remand and

         5.      are not overseas nationals subject to

                 5.1       employment restrictions and/or

                 5.2       a time limit on their stay in Northern Ireland (other than a refugee or
                           asylum seeker).

         34656

34657    New Deal for young people is the normal route for achieving National Vocational
         Qualifications at levels 2 & 3.

34658    If a person

         1.      left or

         2.      was dismissed from or

         3.      refused or failed to apply for or

         4.      neglected a reasonable opportunity of

         employment under Job skills or a Modern Apprenticeship, the decision maker may
         be asked to decide whether to impose a sanction as in DMG 34060 - 34614.


         Employment programme

                                                                            1
34659    Only the following programmes are employment programmes

         1.      Core Gateway, which is a programme of up to two weeks duration consisting
                 of advice and assistance on jobsearch activity and development of jobsearch
                 skills. A course lasting more than two weeks cannot be a Core Gateway
                 course unless

                 1.1       a distinct and separable part of that course is for two weeks or less and

                 1.2       that part of the course was clearly described in advance to the
                           jobseeker as being Core Gateway



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Decision Makers Guide                                                                                  Introduction



         2.      self-employed employment option of New Deal 18-24 (see DMG Chapter 14)

         3.      voluntary sector option of New Deal 18-24 (see DMG Chapter 14)

         4.      environmental task force option of New Deal 18-24 (see DMG Chapter 14)

         5.      preparation for employment programme, being a programme of up to 52
                 weeks duration, consisting of any one or more of the following

                 5.1    jobs

                 5.2    assistance in pursuing self-employment

                 5.3    education and training

                 5.4    work experience

                 5.5    assistance with job search

                 5.6    motivation and skills training

         6.      steps to work

         7.      work experience (see DMG 34666).

                                                                                 3
         Note 1: “week” means any period of 7 consecutive days .

         Note 2: The above programmes must include all elements in the definitions for
         them to be employment programmes.
                               1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(a); reg 75(2); 2 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(a)(v); 3 reg 75(2)


         34660


         Steps to work

                                  1
34661    Steps to work means the programme known by that name

         1.      provided under arrangements made by or on behalf of the Department under
                                        2
                 specified legislation and

         2.      lasting for up to 78 weeks for any individual and

         3.      consisting for that individual of one or more of the following elements

                 3.1    helping to complete an action plan to record the activity that they will
                        undertake whilst attending the programme in order to improve their
                        employment prospects or to obtain employment

                 3.2    a work placement, training or other work-related activity lasting for a
                        continuous period of at least four weeks

                 3.3    other work experience or training, guidance, support, motivation,
                        assistance with job search or in pursuing self-employed earner’s



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Decision Makers Guide                                                                                       Introduction



                         employment or other activity designed to assist them to select, train for,
                         obtain and retain suitable employment.
                                                              1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(a)(vi); 2 E&T Act (NI) 50, sec 1


         34662 – 34665


         Work experience

         [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76]

                                             1
34666    Work experience is defined as a programme which lasts for between two and eight
         weeks for any claimant aged 18 and over to gain experience in the workplace.
                                                              1 E&T Act (NI) 1950, sec 3; JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(1)(a)(vii)


34667    Whilst participating in work experience a claimant
                                                                                       1
         1.    must continue to be actively seeking employment (see guidance in DMG
                21725) and
                                                                            2
         2.    is treated as not being in remunerative work (see guidance in DMG 20464).
                                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 19(1)(p); 2 reg 53(k)


34668    Jobseeker’s Allowance may not be payable or it may be payable at a reduced rate
                                                                                   1
         to claimants who are entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance and have
                                                                                            2
         1.    lost a place on work experience through misconduct (see DMG 34681 -
                34682) or

         2.    subject to the good cause provision detailed at DMG 34729, given up or failed
                                                                                                 3
                to attend a place on a work experience without good cause (see DMG 34683
                - 34691) or

         3.    after being notified by an Employment Officer of a place on a work experience
                (see DMG 34669), refused without good cause (see DMG 34701 - 34702)

               3.1       or failed to apply for it or
                                                          4
               3.2       to accept it when offered or

         4.    neglected to avail themselves of a reasonable opportunity of a place on work
                               5
                experience (see DMG 34703 - 34705).

         Note 1: See DMG 34394 for the definition of Employment Officer.

         Note 2: See DMG 34013 et seq for general guidance on the length of a sanction
         and when it should begin.
                     1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(1) & 22A(1); 2 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c); 3 art 21(5)(b)(iii), 21(5)(b)(iv),
                       22A(2)(b)(iii) & 22A(2)(b)(iv); 4 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii); 5 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i)




Volume 6 Amendment 35                                                                                         June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                              Introduction



34669    While an individual’s decision to participate in work experience is purely voluntary,
         once they have agreed to take part in a specific placement, attendance and
         completion involves reasonable mandatory conditions.

         34670 – 34680




Volume 6 Amendment 35                                                                June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                              Misconduct




         Misconduct
         [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76]

34681    The decision maker should follow the guidance on loss of employment through
         misconduct (DMG 34060 - 34199) where it is relevant. References in that guidance
         to

         1.     “the employer” should be read as references to “the training provider” or the
                employment programme provider

         2.     “employment” or “work” should be read as references to “the training place” or
                the employment programme place.

34682    The decision maker should consider the following questions

         1.     the proof

         2.     whether the claimant acted or failed to act as alleged. But the decision maker
                should remember that a person dismissed from a training course for alleged
                misconduct cannot complain to an industrial tribunal

         3.     whether the claimant’s acts or omissions were misconduct

         4.     whether the claimant lost a place on a training scheme through misconduct.

         Note: For New Deal participants see Chapter 14.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                          September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                 Giving up or failing to attend




         Giving up or failing to attend

         Burden of proof
34683    The decision maker has to prove that the claimant gave up or failed to attend a
         scheme or programme. The claimant then has to prove good cause or suffer a
         sanction. Both of these must be proved on a balance of probabilities.


         Evidence
34684    The decision maker will usually have

         1.     statements by the training provider

         2.     statements by the claimant replying to the training provider’s statements.

         Sometimes there will also be evidence from third parties.


         Giving the claimant a chance to comment
34685    Before imposing a sanction for giving up or failing to attend a scheme or
         programme, the decision maker should be satisfied that claimants have been given
         an adequate chance to comment on all the statements made against them.

34686    If fresh allegations are made at a Social Security Appeal Tribunal hearing in the
         claimant’s absence, the decision maker should normally ask for an adjournment to
         allow the claimant to attend, or answer the allegations in writing.


         Whether the claimant has given up or failed to attend a
         scheme or programme
34687    Claimants have given up a scheme or programme when they have left it
         prematurely. If they are dismissed from the scheme they have not given it up.

34688    Claimants have failed to attend a scheme even if they intend to go back to it. They
         will have failed to attend a scheme if they have an unauthorised absence of just one
         day.

         Example

         Steven was in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and was referred for a 13 week
         preparation for employment programme. The course commenced at 9.30 am on 15
         May 2006. Steven failed to arrive until 11.00 am and on arrival was informed he
         was unable to start the course due to his lateness. A decision maker imposed a


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Decision Makers Guide                                                Giving up or failing to attend



         sanction of a fixed period of two weeks on the ground that the claimant’s late arrival
         at the course amounted to a failure to attend the course for which he did not have
                        1
         good cause .
                                                                                      1 R(JSA) 2/06



         Relationship with dismissal

34689    If the training provider told the claimant that they would be dismissed from the
         scheme at some time in the future, but the claimant left at once, the claimant has
         given up a place on and failed to attend the scheme. They may also have lost that
         place through misconduct.

         Example

         Harry Jarvis is on a training scheme learning to be a painter and decorator. His
         supervisor has told him off 10 times in the last 6 weeks for not doing what he has
         been told to do, and taking unauthorised breaks to smoke. On Monday morning, the
         supervisor cannot find Harry in the room where he is supposed to be working. Harry
         is missing for at least an hour, and when asked why, says that he has been “having
         a fag”. The supervisor tells Harry that he can stay on the course until Friday, but
         then he is finished. Harry tells the supervisor he is leaving and won’t be back.
         Harry claims Jobseeker’s Allowance on the Tuesday. Harry has given up a place on
         and failed to attend the training scheme. He may also have lost his place through
         misconduct.


         Claimants who have no scheme or programme

34690    Claimants cannot give up a scheme or programme at a time when they do not have
         one. Claimants whose schemes or programmes closed down did not give up a
         scheme or programme even if they were offered or could apply for alternative
         schemes or programmes. But if they had actually been given a place on another
         scheme or programme, and did not go to it, they have failed to attend. If no definite
         place was offered on another scheme or programme, the decision maker may be
         asked to consider the questions at DMG 34721 3. and 4..


         Good cause
34691    Even if the decision maker can show that the claimant has given up or failed to
         attend a place on a scheme or programme, the decision maker cannot impose a
         sanction if the claimant shows good cause.

         34692 – 34700




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                            September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                       Refusal of a scheme




         Refusal of a scheme
34701    Decision makers should follow the guidance in DMG 34400 - 34402 to decide
         whether the claimant refused or failed to apply for a place on a scheme, or refused
         to accept such a place when it was offered. References in that guidance to

         1.     “the employer” should be read as references to “the training provider"

         2.     “employment” or “work” should be read as reference to “the training place”.

         DMG 34403 - 34404 are not relevant.

34702    Even if the decision maker can show that the claimant has refused or failed to apply
         for a place on a scheme, the decision maker cannot impose a sanction if the
         claimant shows good cause.




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                   Neglect to avail of a scheme or programme




         Neglect to avail of a scheme or programme
34703    Decision makers should follow the guidance in DMG 34573 and DMG 34575 -
         34578 to decide whether the claimant neglected a reasonable opportunity of a place
         on a training scheme. References in that guidance to

         1.      “the employer” should be read as references to “the training provider”, or
                 employment programme provider

         2.      “employment” or “work” should be read as references to “the training place” or
                 the employment programme place.

34704    Even if the decision maker can show that the claimant has neglected a reasonable
         opportunity of a place on a scheme or programme, the decision maker cannot
         impose a sanction if the claimant shows good cause.

         34705




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                  Good cause




         Good cause

         Claimants who have good cause

         Disease or physical or mental disablement

34706    Claimants have good cause if they were suffering from some disease or bodily or
                                          1
         mental disablement that meant

         1.     they were not able to attend the training scheme or employment programme
                in question or

         2.     attending the training scheme or employment programme in question would
                have put their health at risk or

         3.     attending the training scheme or employment programme in question would
                have put the health of other people at risk.
                                                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(a)


34707    Disease is a departure from health that can be identified by its signs and symptoms,
                                      1
         an abnormality of some sort .
                                                                                    1 CS 221/49(KL)


34708    The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was
         capable of or available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker
         should decide those questions before considering the sanction question.


         Sincere religious or conscientious objection

34709    A claimant has good cause if the failure to participate in the training scheme or
         employment programme resulted from a sincere religious or conscientious
                  1
         objection . Decision makers should follow the guidance in DMG 34480 - 34482 to
         decide whether the claimant has good cause.           References in that guidance to
         “employment” should be read as references to “the training place”. The decision
         maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was available for
         employment. The decision maker should decide that question before considering
         the sanction question.
                                                                         1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(b)




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                   Good cause




         Travelling time

34710    Claimants have good cause where the time it would normally have taken for them to
         travel

         1.       from

                  1.1    their homes to the training scheme or

                  1.2    the training scheme to their homes and

         2.       by a route and means appropriate to their circumstances and to the scheme

         is more than one hour either way. But where there was no appropriate training
         scheme available within one hour of their homes claimants will only have good
         cause where the travelling time was greater than was necessary in the particular
                                                             1
         circumstances of the nearest appropriate scheme .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(c)


         Example 1

         Gerard Jones, who is 16, lives in a small village in Armagh. He refuses to attend a
         New Deal scheme because it would take him at least 1 hour 20 minutes to get there
         by public transport, and 1 hour 20 minutes to get back home. Other young people in
         the village attend the same New Deal scheme - it is the nearest one to their village.
         The decision maker decides that Gerard does not have good cause.

         Example 2

         Janice Little, who is 16, lives in a small village in Antrim. She refuses to attend a
         New Deal scheme because it would take her at least 1 hour 20 minutes to get there
         by public transport and 1 hour and 20 minutes to get back home. Other young
         people in the village attend a New Deal scheme that is only 1 hour away by public
         transport, but there are no places left on that scheme, though one is due to become
         vacant in 2 weeks. The decision maker decides that Janice does have good cause.

34711    Decision makers should follow the guidance at DMG 34444 (“normally”); DMG
         34445 (“travelling time”) and DMG 34449 - 39453 (“route and means appropriate”).
         References in that guidance to

         1.       “the employer” should be read as references to “the training provider”

         2.       “employment” or “work” should be read as references to “the training place”.




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                 Good cause




         Caring responsibilities

34712    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that

         1.     the claimant had caring responsibilities (DMG Chapter 21) and

         2.     no close relative or other member of the household of the person being cared
                for was available to care for the person and

         3.     it was not practical for the claimant to make other arrangements for the care
                                1
                of that person .
                                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(d)


34713    The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was
         available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker should decide
         those questions before considering the sanction question.


         Attendance at court

34714    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that the
                                                                                           1
         claimant was attending court as a witness, juror or party to any proceedings . The
         decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was available
         for or actively seeking employment.      The decision maker should decide those
         questions before considering the sanction question.
                                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(e)



         Arranging or attending a funeral

34715    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that the
         claimant was arranging or attending the funeral of a close relative (DMG Chapter
                            1
         21) or close friend . The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not
         the claimant was available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker
         should decide those questions before considering the sanction question.
                                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(f)



         Lifeboat crew or part-time fire-fighter

34716    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that the
                        1
         claimant was



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Decision Makers Guide                                                                          Good cause



         1.     manning or launching a lifeboat or
                                                                       2
         2.     on duty as a part-time member of a fire brigade .

         The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was
         available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker should decide
         those questions before considering the sanction question.
                                           1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(g); 2 reg 4; Fire Services (NI) Order 84



         Domestic emergencies

34717    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that the
                                                                   1
         claimant had to deal with a domestic emergency .                  The decision maker should
         consider

         1.     the nature of the emergency and

         2.     when the emergency arose and

         3.     any alternative arrangements the claimant has made and

         4.     any alternative arrangements the claimant could have made.

         The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was
         available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker should decide
         those questions before considering the sanction question.
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(h)



         Emergency duties

34718    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme if the reason for doing so was that the
                                                                                                   1
         claimant was performing duties for the benefit of others in an emergency (DMG
         Chapter 21). The decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the
         claimant was available for or actively seeking employment. The decision maker
         should decide those questions before considering the sanction question.
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(i)



         Health and safety at risk

34719    Claimants have good cause for giving up a place on a training scheme or
         employment programme if the reason for doing so was that they

         1.     would have or

         2.     would have been likely to have



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Decision Makers Guide                                                                      Good cause


                                                                                                1
         put their health and safety at risk if they had continued to participate in it . The
         decision maker may be asked to consider whether or not the claimant was capable
         of or available for employment. The decision maker should decide those questions
         before considering the sanction question.
                                                                             1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2)(j)



         Anti-social behaviour order, community order or
         community disposal

34720    A claimant has good cause for giving up, failing to attend, refusing or neglecting an
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme or employment programme if the reason
         for doing so was that it would mean that they would break their anti-social behaviour
         order, taking into account any necessary travelling time. If the claimant has tried
         unsuccessfully to get their order or disposal varied, they would have good cause.


         New Deal options             [See DMG Memo Vol 4/110 & 6/71]


34721    Claimants who commit New Deal option offences which would otherwise lead to a
         sanction will have good cause if, before they commit the sanctionable offence in
         question, an employment officer has not given or sent them a written notice

         1.     mentioning the relevant New Deal option and

         2.     warning them that if they

                2.1     give up or fail to attend or

                2.2     refuse or fail to apply for after being notified of or

                2.3     refuse to accept when offered or

                2.4     neglect to avail of a reasonable opportunity

         a place on a New Deal option then Jobseeker’s Allowance could stop or be
                 1
         reduced .

         Note 1: See DMG 34394 for the definition of an employment officer.

         Note 2: If a jobseeker refuses to accept a written notice given by hand then the
         decision maker should ensure that the notice is posted out to the jobseeker.
                                                                             1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2A)


34722    Where the New Deal option in question is the self-employed employment option or a
         waged option on environment task force or voluntary sector option, the decision




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                             Good cause



         maker should disregard the level of pay when deciding whether the claimant has
                         1
         good cause .
                                                             1 JS (NI) Order, art 21(9); JSA Regs (NI), reg 75(5)



         New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over - qualifying
         course
34723    Note: Currently there are no claimants doing qualifying courses under the relevant
                    1
         legislation .

         Claimants will have good cause for giving up or failing to attend a full-time New Deal
                                                                                         2
         claimants aged 25 years and over course (see DMG Chapter 14) if

         1.     they gave it up or failed to attend it less than four weeks after the first day of
                                     3
                the period of study or

         2.     they gave it up or failed to attend it because they lacked ability or

         3.     the full-time New Deal claimants aged 25 years and over course was not
                suitable.

                                                                                                    4
         Note: A week in this paragraph means a period of seven consecutive days .
                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 17A; 2 reg 73(2B)(b); 3 reg 4; 4 reg 75(2)


34724    For these purposes a full-time New Deal claimants aged 25 years and over course
                                                                                              1
         is suitable if it is suitable for the particular claimant, taking into account

         1.     their personal capacity, for example, to learn, to concentrate

         2.     their ability or potential to acquire particular skills

         3.     their preference

         4.     the level of qualification aimed for

         5.     the length of the course

         6.     the proportion of course that the claimant has already completed.
                                                                                     1 JSA Regs (NI) , reg 73(4)


         Example

         Joe starts a New Deal claimants aged 25 years and over course. The first day of
         the period of study is 6.7.98. He leaves the New Deal claimants aged 25 years and
         over course on 3.8.98. He automatically has good cause as he left it less than four
         weeks after the first day of the period of study.




Volume 6 Amendment 35                                                                               June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                                    Good cause


         New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over - preparation
         for employment programme
34725    Claimants who commit offences which would otherwise lead to a sanction will have
         good cause if, before they commit the sanctionable offence in question, an
         employment officer has not given or sent them a written notice

         1.       mentioning the relevant New Deal for claimants aged 25 years and over -
                  preparation for employment programme and

         2.       warning them that if they

                  2.1   give up or fail to attend or

                  2.2   refuse or fail to apply after being notified or

                  2.3   neglect to avail of a reasonable opportunity

         a place on a        New Deal for claimants aged 25 and over - preparation for
                                                                                                1
         employment programme then Jobseeker’s Allowance could stop or be reduced .

         Note 1: See DMG 34394 for the definition of an employment officer.

         Note 2: The notification does not need to mention the preparation for employment
         programme specifically. A notification referring to “Basic Employability Training” for
         example is sufficient.
                                                                            1 JSA Regs (NI) , reg 73(2A)



         Good cause for employment programme

34726    Claimants who are undertaking a New Deal for claimants aged 25 or over qualifying
         course will have good cause for neglecting to avail themselves of, or refusing or
         failing to apply for, giving up or failing to attend an employment programme, if they
         have to attend the employment programme at a time that will prevent them
                                           1
         attending the qualifying course .
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2B)(a)



         Steps to work - good cause
34727    From 5.10.09 claimants who commit steps to work offences which would otherwise
         lead to a sanction will have good cause if, before they commit the sanctionable
         offence in question, an Employment Officer has not given or sent them a written
         notice

         1.       mentioning the steps to work and

         2.       warning them that if they


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Decision Makers Guide                                                                        Good cause



                 2.1    give up or fail to attend or

                 2.2    refuse or fail to apply for after being notified of or

                 2.3    refuse to accept when offered or

                 2.4    neglect to avail of a reasonable opportunity

                                                                                                    1
         a place on steps to work then Jobseeker’s Allowance could stop or be reduced .
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2A)


         34728


         Work experience - good cause
         [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76]

34729    A claimant is regarded as having good cause for failing to attend or giving up work
         experience providing they

         1.      attend the first day of the work experience and

         2.      give up not later than one week after the date on which they begin the work
                 experience and
                                                                          1
         3.      do not lose the work experience through misconduct .

         Note: The general rules on good cause which apply to employment programmes
         will also apply to work experience (see DMG 34706 - 34726).
                                                                                 1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 73(2C)


         34730 – 34735


         Good cause - matters to take into account
         [See DMG Memo Vol 6/76]

34736    The decision maker should consider all matters put forward by the claimant and
         decide in the light of all the evidence whether or not the claimant had good cause.
         The decision maker can also follow the guidance in DMG 34407 and DMG 34526 -
         34558, so far as it is relevant to training schemes.


         Scheme or programme left because of a grievance

34737    The Department for Employment and Learning and the contracted training
         organisation delivering training will have notified the claimant of their terms and
         conditions when they start training. The information about their training includes

         1.      pre entry guidance


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Decision Makers Guide                                                                Good cause



         2.     likely duration of training

         3.     attendance requirements

         4.     any agreed support arrangements (for example help with travel costs)

         5.     details of the qualifications that the course aims to achieve.

34738    All claimants who were on an employment programme will have been given a letter
         telling them the dates and times they had to attend, and that they will get travel
         expenses. They should also have had a statement of entitlement, telling them what

         1.     they can expect from the scheme

         2.     they are expected to do (for example attend every day)

         3.     the complaints procedure is.

34739    If claimants say that the reason for leaving the training course was that the training
         or instruction was sub-standard, the decision maker should find out

         1.     if they tried to get this put right and

         2.     how they tried to get it put right.

34740    If the claimant produces evidence from the Careers Service of the Department for
         Employment and Learning that confirms that the claimant made a complaint that
         could be supported, the decision maker should accept that the claimant had good
         cause.

34741    If claimants say that they followed the grievance procedure and complained to the
         training provider, the decision maker should arrange for appropriate enquiries to be
         sent to them.     If the replies show that the Jobs and Benefits Office/Jobcentre
         became involved in the grievance procedure, the decision maker should arrange for
         a letter to be sent to them to ask for confirmation of any action that was taken.

34742    Decision makers should take into account

         1.     the claimant’s age and experience and

         2.     the fact that young people may not understand complaints procedures, and
                may be too frightened to ask anyone other than their immediate supervisor.

34743    If a claimant has made no attempt to use the grievance procedure, the claimant will
         usually be unable to show good cause.

34744    If the claimant says that the Careers Service advised leaving the scheme or
         programme, the Careers Service should be asked for confirmation and for the
         reasons for their advice. If the decision maker is still in doubt about whether the




Volume 6 Amendment 35                                                                  June 2012
Decision Makers Guide                                                                 Good cause



         claimant had good cause, enquiries should be made of the appropriate Jobs and
         Benefits Office/Jobcentre Manager as to whether

         1.     their monitoring of the scheme or programme involved is up to date and

         2.     whether they consider the claimant’s allegations well founded.

34745    Good cause should be accepted if

         1.     the training or employment programme agreed was not being followed and

         2.     the claimant tried to resolve the problem by a reasonable approach to

               2.1      the organisation involved or

               2.2      the Careers Service or

               2.3      Department for Employment and Learning.

34746    Guidance on the Careers Service is at DMG Chapter 30.

         34747 – 34750


         Person doing other training or part-time study

34751    If claimants are studying part-time to help their chances of getting work or advancing
         their careers, they usually have good cause for refusing or neglecting a reasonable
         opportunity of a place on a training scheme. But the decision maker should take
         into account the type of course and hours of attendance. If the claimant

         1.     was going to college etc for only a few hours a week (for example to prepare
                to re-sit exams which had been failed) and

         2.     could arrange to go to college etc in the evening

         the claimant will not have good cause. But the claimant will have good cause if it is
         necessary to go to college etc frequently to complete a specific course to improve
         the chances of getting work. Where a claimant is doing other training or part time
         study, a doubt about availability may arise. This question should be decided before
         the decision maker considers the sanction question, if it is referred for a decision.

         34752 – 34850




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                   Young people - introduction




         Young people

         Introduction
34851    Sanctions for
                                                                   1
         1.     losing employment through misconduct
                                                        2
         2.     leaving employment voluntarily without just cause
                                                                                          3
         3.     losing a place on a training scheme through misconduct

         apply to young people in the same way that they apply to other claimants. But if the
         young person has lost a training scheme through misconduct, Jobseeker’s
         Allowance is payable at a reduced rate for the period of the sanction (see DMG
         Chapter 30).
                  1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(a) & 22A(2)(d); 2 art 21(6)(b) & 22A(2)(e); 3 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c)


34852    Sanctions for
                                          1
         1.     refusing employment without good cause
                                                                                    2
         2.     neglecting a reasonable opportunity of employment without good cause
                                                                                                            3
         3.     refusing or failing to carry out any reasonable Jobseeker’s direction without
                good cause

         4.     giving up or failing to attend a place on a training scheme without good
                        4
                cause
                                                                                              5
         5.     refusing a place on a training scheme without good cause

         6.     neglecting a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme without
                              6
                good cause

         apply slightly differently to young people. The differences are explained in DMG
         34856 - 34871. Also, Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable at a reduced rate for the
         period of a sanction (DMG Chapter 30).

         Note: Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid at a reduced rate for two weeks only, and is
         then paid at full rate. If decision maker imposes a sanction of less than two weeks,
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is still paid at a reduced rate for two weeks.
                                              1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(c) & 22A(2)(f); 2 art 21(6)(d) & 22A(2)(g);
                                               3 art 21(5)(a) & 22A(2)(a); 4 art 21(5)(b)(iii)&(iv) & 22A(b)(iii) & (iv);
                                                     5 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii); 6 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                                September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                               Young people - introduction




         Meaning of young person
                                                                               1
34853    In this Chapter of DMG a young person means a person

         1.      who is at least 16 but has not yet reached the age of 18 and

         2.      who

                 2.1    does not satisfy the contributions conditions for contribution-based
                                                    2
                        Jobseeker’s Allowance or
                                                                                                                 3
                 2.2    has had their 182 days of contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

         3.      who is not excluded from Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance under
                                     4
                 relevant legislation after leaving care of a Health and Social Services Board.
                                                    1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 57(1); 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 4; 3 art 7(1)
                                                                      4 Children (Leaving Care) Act (NI) 2002, sec 6


         34854 – 34855


         Young people who have a severe hardship direction in
         force
34856    If the Department has issued a severe hardship direction for a young person,
         sanctions in respect of a Jobseeker’s direction or training scheme cannot be applied
                                                                         1
         if that young person has acted in such a way to risk

         1.      having the hardship direction revoked because of failing to pursue a chance
                                                               2
                 of getting training without good cause

         2.      having the hardship direction revoked because of rejecting an offer of training
                                      3
                 without good cause

         3.      having Jobseeker’s Allowance reduced because of failing to complete a
                 course of training and the Department has not issued a certificate saying
                                          4
                 there was good cause .
                               1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22(2) & 22B(2); 2 art 18(3)(b)(i); 3 art 18(3)(b)(ii); 4 art 19


34857    Young people who have had severe hardship directions issued by the Department
         will have decisions made by the Department if they do any of the things mentioned
         in DMG 34856 1. to 3..

         34858




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Decision Makers Guide                                                                                      Good cause




         Good cause
         Good cause for training schemes

34859    In addition to the reasons given in DMG 34706 - 34751 young people also have
         good cause for
                                                                       1
         1.     giving up a place on a training scheme and
                                                                            2
         2.     failing to attend a place on a training scheme and
                                                                   3
         3.     refusing a place on a training scheme and
                                                                                                             4
         4.     neglecting a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme
                                                            5
         if the conditions in DMG 34860 are met .
                                1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(5)(b)(iii) & 22A(2)(b)(iii); 2 art 21(5)(b)(iv) & 22A(2)(b)(iv);
                         3 art 21(5)(b)(ii) & 22A(2)(b)(ii); 4 art 21(5)(b)(i) & 22A(2)(b)(i); 5 JSA Regs (NI), reg 67(1)

                                     1
34860    The conditions are that

         1.     this is the first time that the young person has, without good cause, committed
                one of the sanctionable offences listed at DMG 34859 1. to 4. and

         2.     the young person has not

               2.1      failed to complete a course of training, without a certificate being
                                2
                        issued or

               2.2      whilst claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance and having a severe hardship
                        direction in force or

                        2.2.a       failed to pursue an opportunity of getting training without good
                                    cause or

                        2.2.b       rejected an offer of training without good cause and

         3.     at the time the young person

               3.1      acted as in DMG 34859 2., 3. or 4. the young person was a new
                        jobseeker or

               3.2      first attended the scheme, if a place on a training scheme was given up
                        without good cause, the young person was a new jobseeker.
                                                                1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 67(1); 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 19(4)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                                 September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                    Good cause



         Example

         Matthew Jameson refuses to go on a New Deal scheme and gives no reason for his
         refusal. He previously left a New Deal scheme where he was training to be a
         hairdresser because the shampoos and perm solutions made his eczema worse,
         and his General Practitioner advised him to leave. The decision maker decided that
         he had good cause because of the General Practitioner’s advice. Matthew satisfies
         all the conditions 1. to 3. so has good cause for refusing to go on the New Deal
         scheme.


         Meaning of new jobseeker
                                     1
34861    New jobseeker means a young person who has not, since first leaving full-time
         education

         1.     been employed or self-employed for 16 or more hours per week or

         2.     completed a course of training or

         3.     if a severe hardship direction is in force, failed to complete a course of
                                                                       2
                training, without a certificate being issued or
                                                                                             3
         4.     given up a place on a training scheme without good cause or
                                                                                       4
         5.     lost a place on a training scheme through misconduct .
                                                            1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 67(3); 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 19(4);
                                                         3 art 21(5)(b)(iii) & 22A(2)(b)(iii); 4 art 21(5)(c) & 22A(2)(c)


         34862 – 34868


         Good cause for refusing employment or neglecting a
         reasonable opportunity of employment
34869    In addition to the reasons given in DMG 34706 - 34751 young people also have
         good cause for
                                           1
         1.     refusing employment and
                                                                            2
         2.     neglecting to avail themselves of employment

                                                                   3
         if the conditions given in DMG 34870 are met .
                   1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(6)(c) & 22A(2)(f); 2 art 21(6)(d) & 22A(2)(g); 3 JSA Regs (NI), reg 67(2)




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                                September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                                              Good cause


                                         1
34870    The conditions are that

         1.     the employer did not offer suitable training and

         2.     the young person is not laid off or on short time and is available as in DMG
                                     2
                21460 - 21461 and

         3.     the young person has not accepted a firm offer of enlistment in the Armed
                                                                                                 3
                Services to start within 8 weeks as in DMG 30754 - 30756 and

         4.     the young person’s Jobseeker’s Allowance has not been reduced by the
                                                                                    4
                Department under a severe hardship direction or by the decision maker
                                             5
                because of a sanction because the young person has
                                                                                                               6
               4.1      given up a place on a training scheme without good cause or
                                                                                                                      7
               4.2      failed to attend a place on a training scheme without good cause or
                                                                                                           8
               4.3      refused a place on a training scheme without good cause or

               4.4      neglected a reasonable opportunity of a place on a training scheme
                                                 9
                        without good cause or
                                                                                                     10
               4.5      lost a place on a training scheme through misconduct                              or
                                                                               11
               4.6      refused employment without good cause                       or

               4.7      neglected a reasonable opportunity of employment without good
                                12
                        cause        and

         5.     the young person has not been sanctioned for
                                                                                            13
               5.1      leaving employment voluntarily without just cause                        or
                                                                             14
               5.2      losing employment through misconduct .
                                     1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 67(2); 2 reg 61(1)(a); 3 reg 61(1)(f); 4 reg 63; 5 reg 68;
                          6 JS (NI) Order 95, art 21(5)(b)(iii); 7 art 21(5)(b)(iv); 8 art 21(5)(b)(ii); 9 art 21(5)(b)(i);
                                   10 art 21(5)(c); 11 art 21(6)(c); 12 art 21(6)(d); 13 art 21(6)(b); 14 art 21(6)(a)



         Meaning of suitable training
                                1
34871    Suitable training is training that is suitable for the particular young people, taking
         into account

         1.     their personal capacity, for example, to learn, to concentrate

         2.     their ability or potential to acquire particular skills

         3.     their preference

         4.     the preference of the training provider

         5.     the level of approved qualification aimed for




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                                      September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                                                                 Good cause



         6.     the duration of the training

         7.     how near the training is to their home

         8.     whether the training can be made available to the claimant quickly.
                                                                          1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 57(1)


         34872 – 34950




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                           September 2011
Decision Makers Guide                           Both members of a joint claim couple are sanctioned




         Amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance
         payable to a joint claim couple
         Both members of a joint claim couple are
         sanctioned
34951    If both members of a joint claim couple are sanctioned, Jobseeker’s Allowance is
                                                                               1
         not payable for the period for which they are both sanctioned .
                                                                             1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22A(5)(a)

                                           1
34952    However in some circumstances Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable if the couple
                                                                                                    2
         are a couple in hardship (see DMG Chapter 35) but Jobseeker’s Allowance is

         1.    not payable for the first 14 days of the sanction period and

         2.    payable only where the conditions of entitlement to joint claim Jobseeker’s
                Allowance are satisfied or where one member satisfies those conditions and
                                                                      3
                the other member is not required to satisfy them .
                                       1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 20B(4); 2 JSA Regs (NI), reg 146D(5); 3 Sch A1


         34953 – 34955




Volume 6 Amendment 27                                                                              July 2009
Decision Makers Guide                                   One member of a joint claim couple is sanctioned




         One member of a joint claim couple is
         sanctioned
         [See DMG Memo Vol 1/96, 4/111 & 6/72]

34956    Where only one member of a joint claim couple is sanctioned, a reduced amount of
         Jobseeker’s Allowance is payable to the member of the couple who is not
                    1
         sanctioned .

         Note: The reduction should also be applied where one member of a joint claim
                                                                  2
         couple has been sanctioned for failure to attend (see DMG Chapter 20).
                                 1 JS (NI) Order 95, art 22A(5)(b) & 22A(7); JSA Regs (NI), reg 74B(2); 2 reg 27A

                                 1
34957    The amount payable is

         1.     where the member of the couple not sanctioned is entitled to contribution-
                                                                           2
                based Jobseeker’s Allowance, the personal rate (see DMG Chapter 23) or

         2.     where the couple are a couple in hardship, the applicable amount subject to
                                         3
                the hardship reduction (see DMG Chapter 35) or

                                                                                                   4
         3.     where the couple do not fall under 1. or 2., the applicable amount (see DMG
                Chapter 23), but calculated as if the member of the couple not sanctioned
                was a single claimant.
                                                        1 JSA Regs (NI), reg 74B(3); 2 JS (NI) Order 95, art 6(1);
                          3 JSA Regs (NI), reg 146G; 4 JS (NI) Order 95, art 6(3A); JSA Regs (NI), Sch 1, para 1(1)


         34958 – 34999




Volume 6 Amendment 34                                                                          September 2011

								
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