Poundland work experience scheme deemed legal by the High Court

Cat Reilly and Jamieson Wilson both tried to challenge the DWP over the Governments work experience scheme, which saw them take up roles at Poundland. The pair argued that the scheme that paid no wages was equal to enforced labour. Employment solicitors, and ultimately Ms Reilly’ barrister claimed that the scheme meant she had to undertake unpaid, menial work.

The judge, Mr Justice Foskett, said “Characterising such a scheme as involving or being analogous to ‘slavery’ or ‘forced labour’ seems to me to be a long way from contemporary thinking.” However, the DWP has not been completely exonerated, and the judge went on to conclude that while the scheme was not the enforced labour the claimant stated, the DWP did not go far enough in informing candidates of the scheme to the potential loss of benefit. Lawyers for Miss Reilly and Mr Wilson claim now that this exposure of the DWP’ failings could mean that thousands of people could be entitled to reimbursement of benefits. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.  Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm with employment Solicitors in London.