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Minimum Number of Hours of Work

To qualify for Employed Person's Allowance (EPA) you or your 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


Minimum work requirements from 18 October 2022

From 18 October 2022 the minimum work requirements for the various groups of people that claim Employed Person's Allowance will be as detailed below. Please also read the Employed Person's Allowance July 2022 Factsheet which provides further information about the changes to the current requirements.

Categories of peopleMinimum work requirements
Lone parents
Standard case (i.e. none of the exceptions mentioned below apply)
  • if the youngest or only child in the family is aged under 13, 16 hours per week.
  • if the youngest or only child in the family is aged 13 or over, 24 hours per week.
Note: Hours spent in work-related training or education may be counted towards meeting the minimum work requirement, as if they are hours spent in work. However, the lone parent must actually be working for at least 16 hours a week.
Exceptions:
Lone parent who has exceptional caring responsibilities 16 hours per week
Lone parent whose child is disabled, has been incapacitated for at least 30 days or is at least 6 months pregnant 16 hours per week
Lone parent who is receiving a bereavement support payment 16 hours per week
Couples with children
Standard case (i.e. none of the exceptions mentioned below apply)
  • if the youngest or only child in the family is aged under 13, 32 hours per week
  • if the youngest or only child in the family is aged 13 or over, 48 hours per week.
If both partners work their total work hours will be taken into account.

Note: Hours spent in work-related training or education by either partner may be counted towards meeting the minimum work requirement, as if they are hours spent in work. However, one member of the couple must actually be working for at least 30 hours a week.
Exceptions:
One partner is disabled, has been incapacitated for at least 30 days, is at least 6 months pregnant or is in work-related training or work-related education 32 hours per week

If both partners work their total work hours will be taken into account.

Note: Hours spent in work-related training or education by either partner may be counted towards meeting the minimum work requirement, as if they are hours spent in work. However, one member of the couple must actually be working for at least 30 hours a week.
A child or young person in the family is disabled, has been incapacitated for at least 30 days or is at least 6 months pregnant 32 hours per week

If both partners work their total work hours will be taken into account.

Note: Hours spent in work-related training or education by either partner may be counted towards meeting the minimum work requirement, as if they are hours spent in work. However, one member of the couple must actually be working for at least 30 hours a week.
One or both partners is receiving a bereavement support payment 32 hours per week

If both partners work their total work hours will be taken into account.

Note: Hours spent in work-related training or education by either partner may be counted towards meeting the minimum work requirement, as if they are hours spent in work. However, one member of the couple must actually be working for at least 30 hours a week.
One or both partners have exceptional caring responsibilities 16 hours per week.
One or both partners is a severely disabled person 16 hours per week.
Couples without children
One or both partners have exceptional caring responsibilities 16 hours per week.
One or both partners is a severely disabled person 16 hours per week.
Disabled worker
Person who has a disability which puts that person at a disadvantage in getting a job (“Disabled Worker”) 16 hours per week.

Trainees

A Trainee is treated as engaged and normally engaged in remunerative work.

A person is not a trainee if they have been a trainee for the preceding 365 days.

A person is a trainee if:

  1. in the week of the claim they are undergoing a course of training or instruction which requires their attendance for at least the minimum hours or the minimum aggregable hours which they would be required to work to meet the minimum work requirement in their particular case if they were not a trainee
  2. they are entitled to be paid a training allowance by the Treasury in respect of their attendance on their course
  3. in the week preceding the week in which their course started (or, if that course was immediately preceded by one or more such courses, prior to the start of the earlier course or the earliest of those courses) they:
    • actually met (on average) the minimum work requirement, and
    • had been awarded employed person’s allowance
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