British Minister Plans To End Discrimination Against Jews Refusing to Work on Shabbat

Esther McVey Says New Regulations Will Provide Welfare Benefits

By JTA

Published November 30, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Britain’s employment minister said she would introduce new regulations to make Jews who refuse to work on Shabbat eligible for welfare benefits.

Employment Minister Esther McVey and Jobcentre National Director Neil Couling have told the Jewish employment charity JCom that rules would be “tweaked” to end the practice of denying job seekers’ allowance to observant Jews, The Jewish Chronicle of London reported Friday.

The Department for Work and Pensions confirmed that there had been 50 cases of people from different religions being denied unemployment benefits because the claimants’ religious observance interfered with their ability to work, the Chronicle reported.

At least 15 cases involved Jews, five of whom had won tribunal cases against the department.

Manchester job center staff were due to receive “training” in dealing with the issue from this week, Couling said. Ivan Lewis, a British lawmaker who has pushed the department and ministry to come up with solutions to the problem, said that the department “made it very clear that legislation and guidance leading to observant Jews being penalized was wrong. They are willing to put that right, and that’s a very important step.”

“But we will judge it on the facts, and if Jewish claimants are still discriminated against, I will be the first to go back to the minister and say this is not what was promised,” he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.