Prior to February 2013, several Jobseekers Allowance claimants were referred to certain employment schemes. Sanctions were imposed on some claimants for non-compliance under the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011 (“the ESE Regulations”).
In the case of Reilly (No. 1), the Government’s ‘back to work’ schemes were challenged by a graduate who had to undertake an unpaid work placement at Poundland and a HGV driver who had to undertake unpaid work collecting and renovating furniture.
They were forced to participate in the scheme in order to continue receiving benefits.
The claimants won their case – the Court of Appeal held that the ESE Regulations were unlawful. This ruling meant that anyone sanctioned and stripped of benefits under these Regulations could potentially claim these back from the Government.
However, to avoid having to repay the sanctions, the Government enacted emergency retrospective legislation – the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013 (“the 2013 Act”).