Job centre staff are being offered bonuses for getting the highest number of people into work.
Employees at 60 offices will be part of a government league table which will see top performers receive vouchers worth £250, with those in second place each awarded £125.
The financial incentives are being offered as part of a pilot scheme across 60 job centres that aims to get more Universal Credit claimants working.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesperson said: “It is right that we reward our staff when they go above and beyond, and helping people to secure, stay in and succeed in work is a key government priority. DWP has an existing in-year reward policy which allows for recognition in the form of both individual and team-based awards in the form of vouchers to colleagues.”
According to the DWP, it is always looking at new and innovative ways to support people with different needs to find and succeed in employment and the pilot is part of that process.
But while the government has insisted that rewarding employees for helping people secure employment is the right thing to do, the PCS union believes the move is “gimmicky” and an “insult” to its members.
Some DWP employees who are members of the union have recently taken strike action in a row over pay. They want a 10% pay rise for 2022-23 but have so far only received an offer of 2%.
PCS DWP group president Martin Cavanagh said: “If the government was serious about incentivising our members, they would meet our demand for a 10% pay rise and give us the extra staff we desperately to provide help to the most vulnerable.”