Proposed amendments to hurt mature-aged jobseekers
The Federal Government is considering amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 which would change the compliance requirements of job seekers aged 55-59. ‘Schedule 9’ of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 requires people aged 55-59 dedicate a minimum 15 hours per fortnight to job search or other job-related activity, such as work for the dole. Currently, their mutual obligation to serve at least 30 hours per fortnight engaged in an approved activity may be fulfilled entirely through voluntary work.
Volunteering Australia has raised a number of concerns regarding this proposal:
- Mature-aged workers are already a disadvantaged group, who face specific challenges in securing employment. This new compliance requirement will force them to spend considerable effort engaged in what is often fruitless job seeking. This time could be better spent in voluntary work, which provides professional development and a reliable pathway to employment.
- This age group is an invaluable part of the volunteering sector, contributing a significant amount of time and energy to volunteer work. These changes would likely move people away from volunteer positions, having a detrimental effect on the sector.
- Fewer mature-aged volunteers would affect the quality of services provided by volunteer involving organisations and volunteer support services, as well as their long-term financial viability and workforce capacity.
This proposal is a worrying sign that the government does not appreciate the value of volunteering to our communities and the prospects it provides jobseekers.
Read Volunteering Australia’s full response the the bill here.
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