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No show no pay - no way.

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Fri, 5th December 2008 NO SHOW NO PAY - NO WAY

Dr Andrew Southcott MP Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Training and Sport

Last night the Opposition and Senator Nick Xenophon combined to defeat Labor’s legislation which was due to introduce a new ‘no show no pay’ penalty for job seekers who failed to meet their obligations to look for work.

The proposed ‘no show no pay’ failure would have seen a jobseeker lose only $44.93 for missing a day’s Work for the Dole or even a job interview. Under the current legislation, if a job seeker misses 3 appointments within a 12 month period without a valid excuse, then they will incur a penalty. This is a fair system, as it balances rights and responsibilities.

The decision by the Senate to vote down the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Employment Services Reform) Bill 2008 at the second reading stage means the Minister for Employment Participation will now have to go back to the drawing board to re-draft a compliance regime for jobseekers. If he wishes to change the current compliance regime for job seekers, he will need to draft a new Bill.

The Social Security Legislation Amendment (Employment Services Reform) Bill 2008 sought to wind back mutual obligation. Current mutual obligations encourage job seekers to actively engage and seek employment. A credible compliance regime helps discourage people who are intent on long term work avoidance.

Yet under Labor’s defeated Bill, job seekers can miss up to 6 appointments in a 6 month period without reasonable excuse, before possibly incurring an 8 week non-payment period. The intention of this Bill was to water down mutual obligation and make drastic changes to the compliance regime. It would undoubtedly have resulted in a fostering a laid-back approach to mutual obligation, by legitimising non-attendance.

Australian job seekers are afforded some of the most generous income support benefits in the world. In return, there is an expectation they actively look for work while receiving income support.