For the first time unemployed workers could have their benefits cut off for up to three years if they refuse jobs with zero hours contracts.
These contracts give no guaranteed hours of work. But they do allow bosses to call people into work at any time.
This could get in the way of interviews for jobs with more reliable contracts or training courses.
The new attack was revealed in a letter from Tory employment minister Esther McVey to a Labour MP. It is one of a number of extra attacks contained in Iain Duncan Smith’s new Universal Credit system.
This combines most working age benefits in a single payment that can be changed every week to reflect the number of hours worked.
Its purpose is to extend the punitive regime of benefit sanctions that target low paid, part time and unemployed workers.
But the system is already in a mess, having fallen well behind schedule and gone over budget.