Conditionality and sanctions

Last updated: 13/03/2024

Changes to Universal Credit require people claiming and not working enough hours or earning under the new threshold to look for more or better paid work or face sanctions.

Related information

Lone Parent Helpline: 0808 801 0323

See our universal credit advice guide.

You can find out more information from the Universal Credit section on the Govt website.


Because of changes to Universal Credit conditionality, there are now certain requirements you will need to meet to continue receiving Universal Credit (UC).

These could be things like:

  • attending job interviews
  • actively seeking employment
  • participating in training programs
  • taking part in work experience

If you do not meet these requirements without a valid reason, your Universal Credit payments might be reduced or stopped temporarily. This is called a sanction.

Everyone’s circumstances are different. If you would like more information on how these changes will affect you and your family, our helpline advisors would be happy to speak to you.

What the new rules mean for you

  • If you are a single parent who is not in paid employment and your youngest child is age 3, you will now be required to seek employment or face potential sanctions to your benefits.
  • If you are a single parent in paid employment, you will now be expected to work at least 30 hours per week to receive Universal Credit if your children are aged between 3 and 12 years old
  • The amount you are allowed to earn (‘the Administrative Earnings threshold’) has increased to £812 per month, so if you are earning below that, you will be expected to look for more work.

How will they calculate if my job pays enough?

  • An ‘earnings threshold’ is used to calculate whether your job pays enough. This is based on the equivalent of a 35-hour week on the national minimum wage when your youngest child turns 13 (currently £364.70 rising to £400.40 from the 1st of April 2024).
  • If your earnings fall below this amount, you must ask your employer to increase your hours or look for an additional job or find a new one.
  • If you are a single parent with a child aged 3 – 12, you would be expected to work at least 30 hours a week and be in a job that pays over £312.60 a week rising to £343.20 from the 1st of April 2024