Monday, July 15, 2024

New Jobseeker check clocks on from today

A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess their job search efforts gets underway today.

Around 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, says Social Development and Employment Minister, Louise Upston.

“Work check-ins are another way the coalition Government is making the welfare system more proactive about supporting Kiwis in their search for employment,” the Minister said.

“These check-ins will ensure a larger number of job seekers have more regular contact with MSD, providing more opportunity to gauge their progress and make sure they are receiving the right support and job training.”

About 190,000 people currently receive Jobseeker Support, but only about 53,000 have employment case managers at any given time, Minister Upston said.

“I’m concerned the other 137,000 job seekers can go many months without talking to MSD about how they are progressing, with some not having to check back in until they reapply for their benefit 12 months later.”

“Our Government is changing this. The Work check-ins at six months build on the new Kōrero Mahi – Let’s talk work seminars that job seekers now attend within two weeks of their benefit starting to plan next steps for finding work.

“They are a precursor to the coalition Government’s plan to introduce mandatory reapplication for Jobseeker Support benefits every six months.

“These interventions will help get job seekers back on their feet quickly. MSD will make sure their profiles and CVs are up to date, offer interview tips, and direct them to job websites and vacancies or further training.

“Work check-in seminars are compulsory, and if someone misses one without a good reason then MSD may stop or reduce their benefit payments.

“Our economy is stronger when more people are in work, which is why we’ve set an ambitious target to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support benefits by 2030,” she said.

Steps taken to support the Jobseeker target include:

  • The Government making its view clear that benefit sanctions should be fully applied, rather than used sparingly, to incentivise job seekers to fulfil their work obligations;
  • Introducing ‘Kōrero Mahi – Let’s talk work’ seminars that job seekers attend within two weeks of coming onto benefit to help them understand the support that is available, what is expected of them, and have their next steps decided;
  • Introducing ‘Kōrero Mahi – Work check-in’ seminars that job seekers attend after six months to assess their progress and whether they need more support;
  • Continued investment of $1.1 billion in MSD’s frontline employment programmes and financial supports through Budget 2024.

“This Government believes those who can work, should work, because having a job is the best way for people to lift themselves and their families out of hardship,” Ms Upston says.

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