So even if a worker’s able to prove that they are habitually resident in Great Britain and that they do have a right to reside, another hurdle that they come up against is the fact that their employment has to be ‘effective and genuine’ and there’s lots of case laws in the European Union about what this means, but basically if you’re working say two shifts a week, maybe three shifts a week, you’re able to show that that’s genuine and effective work over a certain period of time, quite a short period of time. But if you maybe work for an agency and one week they have lots of work and then they lose a contract and you don’t get any work for awhile, you can’t prove that you’re engaged in genuine and effective work and therefore you wouldn’t be able to claim things like tax credits. We have quite a few clients who used to work, maybe a year ago, they used to work five shifts a week, four shifts a week and now they’re lucky if they get one or two shifts a week and the benefits authorities are able to say that they’re not engaged in genuine and effective activities and therefore they’re not entitled. The definition they call it is activities that are ‘marginal and ancillary’ and we’ve got to sort of unpick that and advise clients that they really need to get into more work and that would bring them into benefits entitlement.

  • Lorraine Barrie
Friday 11th June 2010