A JEWISH man has won his appeal against the withholding of
benefit because he was unavailable for work on Friday evenings and
Saturdays, owing to his sabbath observance.
Jacob Slinger, aged 19, a former university student from Greater
Manchester, belongs to the Charedi Jewish community. The Jobcentre
Plus in Prestwich, North Manchester, refused to grant him £56.80 a
week jobseeker's allowance on the grounds that his unavailability
was "not reasonable".
Mr Slinger, whose case was reported in the Jewish
Chronicle earlier this month, was denied benefits for more
than six months, and told that he must work on the Sabbath, even
though he argued that he was available for 53 hours a week.
Jobseekers are required to be available for a minimum of 35 hours a
Judge David Hewitt said in the social entitlement chamber of a
tribunal that adjudicates benefits disputes that, even within the
restraints that Mr Slinger had set himself, he had reasonable
prospects of securing employment. The decision to deny him benefits
was therefore found to be wrong, and the Department for Work and
Pensions was ordered to pay Mr Slinger arrears of more than
This decision does not set a precedent, since the tribunal is
not a court of record. It could, though, encourage others who have
been refused benefits on similar grounds.