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Dear Mr Key…Please Think Again

11 AUGUST 2008

Dear Mr Key…Please Think Again

After reading the headlines that National has plans to make parents on the Domestic Purposes Benefit head back to work when the children reach the age of six years,. Catherine Lawson from Jigsaw Family Services invites Mr Key to think again and see this issue through the eyes of children.

“Please Mr Key think again and look through the eyes of the child and ask yourself the question, how is this policy going to affect the children?” This policy reads as being very adult focused and de-values the job of raising our children.

Ms Lawson agrees that a parent/s could benefit from outside focus increasing self esteem etc going back to the workforce, but that’s if they don’t have children to look after.

“Children get sick. Are parent’s employers going to increase their sick days and their school holidays? We pick up the news each day to read more child abuse stories, and what we read is statements like ‘the family have been under stress etc.”

Ms Lawson is not convinced that this new policy is going to alleviate stress for children, nor is she convinced that in practice it will reduce family poverty

‘For a parent to work 15 hours per week and earn $100 means they will be working for approx $6.50 per hour lower than the minimum wage. It costs money to go back out to work with added costs of petrol, clothing etc so unless the parent will be paid higher than the usual wage then families will not be better off. Most of those solo parents have learned to budget, and do cut their cloth accordingly. Putting extra pressure on them with all the extra costs of going back to work will defeat the purpose. All their extra earnings will go on these extra costs, adding more and more stress and in fact, the solo parent will be worse off and at the end of the day our children suffer.


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