The conditions for claiming Universal Credit are set out in a "claimant commitment" that you will have to accept at the beginning of your claim. If you are part of a couple, you will each have a separate claimant commitment that may be different from each other's.
There are 4 conditionality groups:
This group will be expected to attend periodic interviews to discuss their plans for returning to the labour market.
A sanction may be applied to your UC award if you fail to attend an interview. This sanction may be imposed for a period until you meet the compliance condition that you failed, or for up to 26 weeks.
This group will be expected to take reasonable steps to prepare for work, such as attending a skills assessment, preparing a CV, participating in training or an employment programme, and undertaking work experience or a work placement.
A sanction may be applied to your Universal Credit award if you fail to undertake work-related activity. This sanction may be imposed for a period until you meet the compliance condition that you failed, or for up to 26 weeks.
Anyone not mentioned above is included in this group.
This group will be subject to a work search requirement and work availability requirement, as they would under Jobseeker's Allowance.
Personal advisers will be able to order "Mandatory Work Activity" - a full-time work placement for four weeks. A severe sanction can be imposed if this is not attended without good cause.
A higher level sanction may be applied to the Universal Credit award for failure (with no good reason) to comply with the requirement to prepare or apply for work; take up an offer of paid work; or ceasing work voluntarily or through misconduct. This sanction could result in a reduction of your Universal Credit award, for up to a maximum of 26 weeks (please note: this timeframe dropped to 26 weeks from 3 years for new and existing sanctions from 27 November 2019), depending on the number and regularity of such failures.
The expectation is that when in work people in this group will earn at least the equivalent of 35 hours at National Minimum/Living Wage. This is known as the 'individual earnings threshold'. So if you earn the minimum wage then you will be expected to work for at least 35 hours a week. But note that if you earn above minimum wage you could be lifted above your earnings threshold but work less than 35 hours - the threshold is measured in terms of earnings not hours.
If you have a child aged under 13, you should talk to your personal adviser about what activities are realistic for you. You can ask for reasonable adjustments including to your expected number of work hours, for example, limiting the hours you are available to work so you can drop off and pick your child up from childcare or school. The expectation is that 25 hours should be appropriate if you have children of compulsory school age and 16 hours should be appropriate if you have children below compulsory school age, though this can vary depending upon your caring responsibilities. If you have an older child adjustments may still be approved.