The Scottish Government are currently consulting on a proposed Job Grant for young people entering into employment. Staf will be submitting an organisational response and we want to hear your views as members. Our Care Leavers into Employment focus group last month had a lively discussion on this issue and we will be collating all of your feedback into a draft consultation response over the coming weeks. If you have anything you would like to see included in the response please get in touch with [email protected]

The Job Grant is a proposed new scheme that will be delivered by Social Security Scotland to support young people moving back into employment. The grant is intended to aid the transition for young people moving into employment through a one-off cash payment that can help cover costs of, for example, travel, clothing, and lunches.

This move follows a commitment in the SNP manifesto for a Job Grant which initially was promised to take the form of a smaller grant and a 3 month bus pass. However the format has now shifted following previous consultation to allow for greater flexibility and choice for grant recipients, particularly for those travelling in rural areas, as well as to ensure smoother administration. 

The current Scottish Government consultation, which closes on 9th April 2019, seeks views on:

  • Key eligibility criteria of the grant (age, residency qualifying benefits, duration out of employment, application window etc.)
  • Format of the grant
  • Impact on different groups and businesses
  • Any potential unintended consequences of the proposal

Who will be eligible for the Job Grant?

  • 16-24 year olds (or up to 26th birthday if a care leaver) who are in receipt of a qualifying benefit (Universal Credit, except for those already in paid employment; ESA; Income Support; JSA, other than those working up to 16hours per week)
  • Ordinarily resident in Scotland
  • Have been out of work for 6 months before receiving an offer of employment – other than care leavers, for whom there is no required time out of employment
  • In receipt of a job offer for paid employment in the UK that averages 16 hours per week or more over a four week period, and the job is expected to last three months or more

What is the format of the Job Grant?

  • The Job Grant will comprise a one-off cash payment of either £250 or £400 (the higher amount payable to young people who have children)
  • There will be no appeal rights for the Job Grant, however there will be a complaint process in place
  • Applications can be made 14 days in advance of employment start date and up to 14 days after employment has commenced
  • The Job Grant is intended not to replace an unemployment-related benefit and cover all costs, but to support young people with the additional costs associated with moving to employment

What have Staf members told us about the Job Grant?
At our February Care Leavers into Employment focus group meeting, Staf members discussed the consultation as part of formulating our organisational response. Below are five points raised, amongst many, by members.

  1. Young care leavers (16–18) will not have a qualifying benefit as their benefits are paid via the local authority and not listed on the eligibility criteria. This needs to be expanded to include those in receipt of local authority benefits
  2. 26 is an arbitrary – and low – upper age range for eligibility given the underlying issues and additional structural barriers that care leavers face. 29 would be preferred (in line with the Community Jobs Scotland age range) 
  3. The application window is too short: care leavers may miss out by not applying within the first few weeks of employment, which is already a stressful time in and of itself
  4. For those young people entering into, for example, 6 month contracts, they could quickly end up in the same situation but without the financial support as the current proposal states the payment can only be accessed once
  5. There is sometimes a conflation between ‘care experienced’ and ‘care leaver’ so the eligibility for care leavers should be made explicitly clear

Please email [email protected] if you would like to contribute to the Staf organisational response, which will be drafted over the coming weeks, or would like to sign up to our Care Leavers into Employment direct mailing list.

Our Care Leavers into Employment focus group brings together practitioners and managers from across local authority and third sector organisations to discuss policy and practice relating to care leavers gaining and maintaining employment. The next meeting will take place on 1st May 2019 and is free for Staf members.

You can book your place below:

Book your place