Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Less-punitive work-for-the-dole scheme

The Federal Government says proposed changes to the work-for-the-dole scheme are likely to encourage more unemployed Australians to take up work.

The Government says the automatic eight-week suspension of dole payments for people who refuse to work or do not seek employment is too harsh.

Under a bill introduced today, people who miss appointments would initially be docked a day's pay.

Those who continue to miss appointments would incur the eight-week suspension, but they can have the money reinstated if they agree to extra work.

The Employment Participation Minister, Brendan O'Connor, says the bill is a vast improvement on the previous arrangements.

"Australians in these circumstances are more likely to overcome an extended period of unemployment if the employment system encourages commitment rather than the current punitive approach," he said.

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