The light-touch regime motivates and encourages claimants to increase their earnings as quickly as possible. This helps claimants to reach their Conditionality Earnings Threshold (CET) giving them the best chance of becoming financially independent from Universal Credit. Claimants in the light-touch regime are required to participate in two Work Search Interviews (by telephone, only re-arranged as face-to-face when phone contact is unsuccessful) at day one and week 8 in the regime. There are no further mandatory requirements. Claimants are not required to attend further Work Search Reviews, and all other work-related activity is agreed as part of a voluntary action plan.
Claimants are placed in the light-touch regime if they are in the All-Work-Related Requirement (AWRR) group and have earnings between the Administrative Earnings Threshold (AET) and the CET.
This includes claimants with:
individual earnings above their AET
no earnings and in a household with earnings above the AET
earnings below the individual AET but in a household with earnings above the household AET
Unlike the CET, the individual / household AET are static amounts, but may be adjusted, usually in April, when benefits are uprated. Whilst both thresholds (CET & AET) are based on gross taxable pay, only employed earnings can contribute to meeting the AET (i.e. Self-employed earnings will not count towards it).
Conditionality Earnings Threshold
The Conditionality Earnings Threshold (CET) ensures that claimants earning above a certain level will not be asked to carry out work-related activity. The CET is calculated on an individual basis, by multiplying the National Minimum Wage (NMW) by the hours a claimant’s Expected hours. The CET for a household is a combination of the individual expected CET of each of the adults (joint claimants or including an ineligible partner of a claimant) in the household and varies between different households. In a couple household, if one of the adults earns above the household CET, both claimants are placed in the working enough regime, regardless of if they are both working or not.