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Minimum Number of Hours of Work

To qualify for Employed Person's Allowance (EPA) you or you partner must be working for at least the number of hours per week as set out below.

If your hours of work fluctuate, average them over 5 consecutive weeks. Or if you have a particular pattern of work, average your hours over one complete cycle.

If you have a partner both of you must be working the minimum number of hours required. You cannot add the hours you each work together to make up the minimum number of hours required.

Below we have used the terms 'Disabled workers' and 'Non-disabled workers'. Please ask us for advice if you want to know more about who would qualify to be a Disabled Worker.

Non-disabled workers

Family typeMinimum number of hours work per week
A couple where one or both of you cares for a severly disabled person 16 hours a week
A couple where one or both of you is a severely disabled person 16 hours a week
A couple where one or both of you are responsible for a child (but neither of you is severly disabled or cares for a severly disabled person) 30 hours a week
A lone parent responsible for a child 16 hours a week
Disabled workers  16 hours a week


Important changes from April 2022

The minimum work requirements for EPA will change significantly for some groups from 19 April 2022.

In particular:

  • Lone parents whose youngest child is aged 13 or over will have to work at least 24 hours a week.
  • Couples whose youngest or only child is aged 6 or over will have to work at least 48 hours a week. But they will be able to make up these hours in whatever combination they choose. So, for example, one partner may work 40 hours a week whilst the other partner works for 8 hours a week.  Or they may both work 24 hours a week.

There will be exceptions to the new minimum work requirements where, for example, an adult in the family is sick, disabled, is at least 6 months pregnant or is getting a bereavement support payment.

There will be no change to the minimum work requirement for disabled workers and couples where one or both partners is a severely disabled person or cares for a severely disabled person. The minimum work requirement will continue to be 16 hours a week.

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