Sunday, May 19, 2024

New rules for Jobseeker Support

Jobseeker beneficiaries who have work obligations must now meet with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) within two weeks of their benefit starting to determine their next step towards finding a job, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston announced today.

“A key part of the coalition Government’s plan to have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support by 2030 is making sure the welfare system is geared towards helping people get back on their feet quickly,” said Minister Upston.

“About 188,000 people currently receive Jobseeker Support but only about 53,000 of them have employment case managers at any given time, so early intervention is required to make sure the others are taking steps towards finding work. 

“MSD’s new Kōrero Mahi – Let’s Talk Work seminars are one way we’re doing this. People who come onto Jobseeker Support must now attend one within a fortnight to have their employment needs assessed and their next step decided.

“If they’re ready to work, they could be helped to apply for a job. If they need re-training or upskilling, they could be referred to a programme that can help.”

Ms Upston said the compulsory work seminars will make sure all new Jobseeker beneficiaries get the support they need and understand what’s expected of them.

“Those who do not attend without a good and sufficient reason could be sanctioned,” she said.

“This new initiative follows steps we’ve already taken to make the welfare system more proactive, which include our expectations about the application of benefit sanctions and new work check-ins for job seekers after six months. 

“The number of people who have been on Jobseeker Support continuously for more than a year grew by about 40,000 under the previous government and under-25 are now projected to spend an of average 19 more years on a benefit.

“We’re not prepared to sit back and let welfare dependency get any worse, which is why we’re intervening early to get job seekers on the pathway to work.”

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