Job hunters 'put off' unpaid work

Benefits officers should be better trained so that they don't misinform job hunters about volunteering, according to Mark Restall, former head of information at Volunteering England.

"Volunteers are constantly told there's a 16-hour limit, or that if you're capable of volunteering you must be capable of full-time paid work," said Restall, who is now a consultant. "But the rules say you can do as many hours as you want without it affecting your benefits."

Restall will tell the Volunteering England national convention on Friday that there is a risk the problem will get worse when employment support allowance replaces incapacity benefit in October.

He will also argue that the ban on volunteering for people in the UK on six-month visitor visas should be removed, and will discuss the Compensation Act and the new Independent Safeguarding Authority.

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