Flexibility Needed in Job Services Start-Up to Avoid Unfair Penalties

30 June 2009

With nearly 260,000 job seekers expected to register with new job services providers from tomorrow, disadvantaged job seekers risk incurring unfair penalties, says the Australian Council of Social Service.

“We expect that nearly half of jobseekers will have to change their employment agency from tomorrow as Job Services Australia commences,” said Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS.

“The next few months will be a difficult time of upheaval and disruption for some services and job seekers. Greater flexibility and consideration of individual circumstances is important so that people looking for work are not unfairly disadvantaged as a result of the changeover.”

ACOSS supports comments by the Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Mark Arbib that flexibility is necessary to avoid major disruption in the transition to Job Services Australia (Sydney Morning Herald, 26 June 2009).

“Some job seekers will be confused about the new arrangements, despite the best efforts to inform them, so flexibility should be applied through the ‘reasonable excuse’ provisions,” said Clare Martin.

“Job seekers who fail to attend an interview with the employment services provider may incur a first strike under the ‘three strikes’ rule which triggers a compliance assessment and could mean a losing payments for eight weeks.”

“We want to ensure there is not a repeat of the serious transitional problems experienced with the 2003 tender where many job seekers had difficulty transitioning to new providers.”

Media Contact:
Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155