1 July 2012 new skills and workforce participation measures
New measures under the Building Australia’s Future Workforce (BAFW) skills and workforce participation package come into effect on 1 July 2012.
The package of reforms announced as part of the 2011-12 Federal Budget, addresses people with a disibility, Skills and training measures, the Very long-term unemployed, an approach to tackle entrenched disadvantaged and Youth and early school leavers.
The changes target skills and workforce participation with some specific location-based measures, all focussing on under-skilling in the workforce and getting people into good jobs.
People with Disability
The Government is making it easier for people on the Disability Support Pension to find and keep a job, where they can.
From 1 July DSP recipients can work for up to 30 hours a week without losing access to their pension, subject to income testing.
This change gives people on the DSP the security to test their ability to work more hours, without worrying about losing qualification for their pension.
And for the first time, DSP recipients under the age of 35 with some capacity to work will be required to attend regular participation interviews with Centrelink to develop participation plans, tailored to their individual circumstances.
Participation plans could involve working with employment services to improve job readiness, searching for employment, undertaking training, volunteering or rehabilitation.
The Government reducing barriers to employment through the Enhanced Wage Subsidy, which can provide up to $3000 for employers who hire someone with a disability for 15 hours or more each week.
It is also making a wage subsidy available to employers who offer employment to job seekers with minimal work experience, including those with a disability, worth around $220 a week for 26 weeks.
Skills and training measures
The Government has committed approximately $854 million over three years to a new National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform. This will deliver better quality investment in skills and training to ensure the needs of employers and employees.
The Government will establish the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency to directly and constructively engage with industry on current and future skills demands and how best to meet them.
The Agency will also play a central role in directing substantial Australian Government investment in skills and workforce development under the industry-driven National Workforce Development Fund.
Very long-term unemployed
Nearly 230,000 job seekers participating in Job Services Australia are considered to be very long-term unemployed as they have been receiving income support for two years or more.
Of these nearly 83,000 have multiple and complex barriers preventing them from gaining employment.
From 1 July very long-term unemployed job seekers will be required to undertake additional activities to make sure they remain engaged and job ready, giving them the best possible chance of finding work.
Under these new arrangements Job Services Australia providers will receive an additional $1000 credit to help job seekers pay for an activity specifically tailored to address unemployment factors, such as paying for licences or equipment needed to get a job.
There will be an increase to places in Language, Literacy and Numeracy programs, which will include work experience to improve foundations skills needed for employment.
Approach to tackle entrenched disadvantaged
Additional support and new requirements for jobless families with young children in 10 disadvantaged communities around Australia will target the breaking of the joblessness cycle.
The targeted locations will have new participation requirements for jobless families including new interviews and workshops provided by Centrelink to help them become job ready and ensure their children are school ready. Parents will have access to extra child care assistance, training places, and expanded early childhood and parenting courses.
The new responsibilities build on the new requirements and supports for young parents that started in the 10 communities on 1 January 2012.
The measures are designed to ensure disadvantaged job seekers in targeted locations will receive the additional assistance they need to overcome the barriers that have prevented them from obtaining sustainable and ongoing employment.
Youth and early school leavers
Youth Allowance recipients who are not full-time students or Australian apprentices will be able to take advantage of an increase in the income free area from $62 to $143 per fortnight, meaning they can earn twice as much before it impacts their income support payment.
Early School Leavers connected with a Job Services Australia provider will get a $500 Employment Pathway Fund credit to receive tailored employment assistance, and complete blocks of the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program.
It is anticipated that 160,000 early school leavers will receive the employment services and transition support over four years.
30 June 2012.