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From welfare to work

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development

Associate Minister of Housing

28 August 2013 Media Statement

From welfare to work

Hundreds of beneficiaries are taking up the new work bonus payment by leaving welfare to take up work opportunities.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett says this incentive payment is for beneficiaries who go into work despite having no work expectation on them.

It means instead of the benefit simply stopping, it is phased out incrementally so people keep a proportion of it as they transition to a wage.

“In the last two weeks of July alone, 239 people took advantage of the work bonus payment as they proactively found jobs,” says Mrs Bennett.

These determined New Zealanders have gone into a range of industries including trades, administration, customer services, retail and driving.

The Opposition consistently underestimate the motivation of beneficiaries, but we see the evidence that people are determined to earn independently.

A sole parent of three in the South Island had not worked in fourteen years when the July reforms came into effect.

This parent received a work bonus payment when taking up a job which fits around childcare this month. Their case manager helped secure all available support including Working for Families in-work tax credits.

“This family now has a sustainable financial future,” says Mrs Bennett.

New welfare obligations including being drug-free and work available have prompted many to make changes and look for opportunities.

A man in his twenties had been on a benefit since 2011 in the North Island when requirements for Jobseekers to be drug free were announced.

“In preparation for the new obligations, this young man’s work brokers gave him support, advice and encouragement to get on top of his drug habit.”

“He was determined to do so and last month he proudly passed a drug test for an available job - he is now a full time tradesman.”

A North Island woman who’d been on benefit for just a few months came in for an appointment and said she had a potential job lined up but the employer wasn’t sure they could expand the business.

“Through this person’s determination and tenacity and with the help of a case manager’s advice and some input from a work broker, a wage subsidy was negotiated and the employer offered a full time job.”

Of those who took up the work bonus payment 96 per cent were sole parents.

“People want more for themselves and their children than to be reliant on benefits and I hear positive stories like this every week,” says Mrs Bennett.

“It’s not always easy to find work, but there are jobs available and employers who are willing to provide flexible hours for sole parents.”

ENDS

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