§ Mr. Roger Evans
Family credit already helps 215,000 people working between 16 and 24 hours a week. In 1994 we introduced a child care disregard to remove a stumbling block preventing some parents from taking up work. Disability working allowance also tops up the earnings of some disabled people who work for 16 hours or more a week. From October 1996 we are piloting in eight areas earnings top-up, a new in-work benefit for people without dependant children. This will also help people working 16 hours a week or more to be better off in work.
In October 1996 we are introducing a back-to-work bonus whereby those on income support or jobseeker's allowance who undertake small amounts of work of less than 16 hours a week can accumulate a lump sum of up to £1,000 based on their part-time earnings. This will be paid when either the claimant or partner moves into work which takes them off benefit.
From October 1996 the partner of a claimant receiving jobseeker's allowance or income support will be able to take work of up to 24 hours a week without removing entitlement to benefit. There will also be a £10 disregard in respect of both of these benefits.
Job sharing is a matter which is best left to employers and employees to arrange, but the measures already taken should facilitate it.