Grant will help with costs of starting work.
Views are being sought on the detail of a new benefit that aims to help young people with the costs associated with the transition into the workplace.
The proposed Job Grant consists of a one-off cash payment of £250, or £400 for a young person with children, which will be available to those between 16-24 who were out of paid work for six months prior to finding employment.
The grant will assist towards travel costs or could be used for clothing, lunches and other expenses that need to be met by someone entering work after a lengthy period of unemployment and ahead of their first salary. It will complement wider Scottish Government initiatives that support people into employment, such as Fair Start Scotland.
Launching the consultation at StartScotland, an employment provider in Edinburgh, Social Security Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“The transition in to work for young people who have been unemployed can be a difficult one. Getting to and from their place of work and having appropriate clothing can be costly, especially if you’ve been managing on the low income provided by out-of-work benefits and don’t have savings to fall back on.
“The Job Grant aims to help with those costs and make their first few weeks in employment easier. Keeping young people in work is key to keeping them healthy, both physically and mentally.
“We want to introduce the Job Grant as swiftly as we can so are consulting now to get views on the proposed eligibility criteria and the format of the proposed payment. Our aim is to deliver a benefit that meets the needs of young people entering work and I urge anyone who shares that desire to take part in the consultation.”
Nick Young, General Manager at StartScotland, said: “This new grant, alongside the other measures being implemented by the Scottish Government, is a welcome addition for Scotland.
“We know that re-entering the workplace, or even finding employment for the first time, can be a tricky time for people. So anything that supports people as they make the transition can only be a good thing.
“Fair Start Scotland is delivering a fantastic service to help people with disabilities and health issues gain the right skills they need to find and maintain that all important job.”
The public consultation will run until 9 April 2019.
The eligibility criteria have been developed following discussion with young people and their representative organisations. Eligibility will be determined through tests carried out by Social Security Scotland on the date of application.
The consultation also proposes support is extended for care leavers, recognising that they may face particular challenges moving into employment.
The proposed main eligibility conditions are:
- Aged 16-24 years inclusive (apart from care leavers who will be eligible for a year longer) and not previously receiving a Job Grant
- Out of paid work and in receipt of a qualifying benefit for six months or more (except for care leavers who only need to be on a qualifying benefit at the time of the job offer and do not need to meet the time requirement)
- Ordinarily resident in Scotland
- In receipt of a job offer for paid employment in the UK, which averages 16 hours per week or more over a four-week period, and is expected to last at least three months or more
- Applications can be made 14 days in advance of employment start date and up to 14 days after employment has commenced. The Job Grant aligns with wider Scottish Government policies including Fair Start Scotland, our employment support service which over three years is looking to provide support to a minimum of 38,000 participants who want and need help to enter and remain in work. The service will target a wide range of participants including long term unemployed, disabled people as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Further information on who is responsible for delivering Fair Start Scotland in your area is available at www.mygov.scot/fairstart.
The Job Grant will supplement the support from Fair Start Scotland for young people as it aims to support a smooth transition into employment.