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Government Removes Another Punitive Child Policy From Welfare System To Put Children First

The Government has taken further steps to put children first as part of its welfare overhaul, by starting work to remove the subsequent child policy from the Social Security Act 2018, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced today.

The subsequent child policy was introduced in 2012, and places obligations on parents to look for, and return to work earlier if they have an additional child while receiving a main benefit.

“Removing the punitive policy builds on the Government’s work to make our welfare system fairer such as the removal of Section 192 – a harmful sanction that penalised sole parents and their children, a $25 increase in main benefits, increased abatement threshold and the indexation of benefits to wage increases for the first time in New Zealand’s history,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“By removing this policy, parents will have more flexibility to spend more time with their children in the first 1,000 days of their life, which is a critical time period for a child’s long-term development. It will also improve equity and simplicity in the welfare system and reduce stress in families.

“For those parents who do want to work earlier, they will still have access to employment support and be supported to transition into the workforce.

“This legislative change is planned to come into effect in November 2021. This allows time for legislation to be passed and for the systematic change to be implemented.

“The Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommended removing some obligations and sanctions, including the subsequent child policy and as part of the Confidence and Supply agreement with the Greens, the Government committed to overhauling the welfare system and removing excessive sanctions.

“Removing the subsequent child policy reflects the Government’s commitment to supporting the wellbeing of New Zealanders and enabling everyone who is able to be earning, learning, caring or volunteering,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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