British lawmakers are pushing for welfare benefits for observant Jews unable to work on Shabbat and other religious holidays.
Britain’s Employment Minister Esther McVey and Jobcentre National Director Neil Couling are looking into a “tweak” of current hiring practices that leave Jews out of work after employees refuse to hire them.
Likewise, the Department for Work and Pensions said at least 50 cases have been filed from individuals of varying religions, complaining that they had been denied unemployment benefits after religious observances prevented them from obtaining paid work.
“[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,” Ivan Lewis, a British lawmaker who has pushed the department and ministry to come up with solutions to the problem, told London’s Jewish Chronicle.
“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.”
Couling added that job center staff in Manchester are set to receive training on how to deal with the issue.