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Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34885
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I am claiming jobseekers allowance and have been for over a

Customer Question

I am claiming jobseekers allowance and have been for over a year. I was told I would need to go on the mandatory work programme which I did not worry about because I have said I am fine about doing some work experience to put on my CV. Also I believed it to be for a maximum of four weeks. I was sent to Seetec in Southend who were to arrange this programme. They then gave me paper work about a community work programme which can be for 30 hours a week and for 26 weeks. They arranged for me to go to a local park and do gardening and said that they would send boots and overalls to the park manager. I arrived as told at 7am and found the manager, he told me that they start at 7.30 am. He also told me that he did not have boots or overalls and sent me home to call Seetec who should fix it before I should come back. I called them at 9.30am but heard nothing until I attended my compulsory work search the next day. They said I had not attended and that they had sent the boots which arrived by 7.30. I did not believe them but went back to the park the next day. The manager said they had sent the boots and overalls and he gave me some. The boots where way too big, about 1 inch and said size 41. I am a size 5 which I told Seetec. The overall stated on it that it was a small but I think it was an extra large minimum. I decided that even the overall I was not willing to wear as rolling it up over and over made it look stupid and could have unrolled and been dangerous. He then gave me a pair of size 5 boots in a wide fitting. These boots appear to me to be work boots but they do not fully protect from rain. I decided these boots were fine to wear. He then gave me an overall that was very thin like paper which was only a little too big. I decided it was better than nothing. He then gave me some gloves which were have rubber and half fabric which were fine. I was sent to a supervisor who told me I would be pruning roses and he meant where they were thick. Not only did I think this was hard work but I did not have the clothing for this. I did do this work all day but then I told him that I did need a change from the same work all day and now I can spend quite a bit of the day hoeing and weeding. This I think is fine but it is around the roses. The next day I told him the overall were no use as they had ripped on the roses. He then gave me a set of waterproof clothes which did fit me and has helped with keeping warm and the wet mud but they have also ripped on the roses and I have fixed them with some glue. On top of all of that I am to work 7.30-11.00 with no break and then 11.30-2.30 with no break. He has stated that I can take a drink and smoke but I do not feel free to sit down for more than a minute. On top of that I do not think That I should have to work before 9am. At home I have to clean my things up as I only have one set and they get very muddy and I find I have little time for much else. Even my lunch things need a very good clean. I am finding it very hard to look for work during the week and may loose out because I can't reply quickly. I have been told of no extra money for any of this except for travel. Also I have been told nothing about a benefit of all this to myself except the fact that I can write it down. I am also to still sign on which is quick but still time. I have attended now for a week and every day I am to prune roses or weed around them. I am told today that I must attend all of this until May next year, already I am cold at work and take time to warm up at home. I do not have the best clothes but I am wearing thermal underwear, clothing and the thickest I have. Please can you tell me if there is a way out of this which keeps my money coming in, or at least more money and/or something helpful. Lesley Sweeney at *****@******.***.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
have you asked Seetec to provide boots and overalls that actually fit you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, he gave me the size 5 boots on the day I went back and some water proof clothing the next day and he said they were from seetec.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
But you have said that these are not suitable - have you asked for replacements?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No I have not asked them.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry but the news is not good.
You CAN insist that you are provided with suitable waterproof boots and suitable overalls that are fit for the purpose - you should place the request in writing and keep a copy of what you send.
I am afraid however that there is nothing else about the placement that can be challenged.
The hours that you are working are in line with the employment laws
I utterly agree with you that this places you in a position that actually makes it HARDER for you to find employment - but this is a political issue
The only way out of it is I am afraid to take a low paying job or go self employed to take yourself off benefits which is the purpose of the scheme that you are on
I wish there was another option to give you
However if they do not provide you with suitable equipment then you can make a formal complaint and claim compensation for damage done to your clothing