Mature Age Job Seekers and the Restart subsidy

In August I wrote to our local MP, Kevin Hogan expressing concern that the government Restart subsidy for employers to hire a mature age worker did not make any provision for part time employment (which is what a lot of mature age workers are seeking)

Today, two months later, I received a letter from Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister of Employment, signed by her Chief of Staff, advising that the Restart subsidy will change from November 2015 so that employers will be eligible to receive the full $10,000 subsidy over a 12 month period instead of the previous 24 months..HURRAH !!, that’s a little progress isn’t it.

The bad news is that it still makes no provision for part time work and the employer has to take on a mature age worker (50 years of age or older) for at least 15 hours per week for 52 weeks to get even a partial Restart subsidy. Many small business employers just cannot make this kind of commitment for extra staff and $10,000 does not go very far towards the wages of an extra full time person for a year.

The letter continues to deliver bad news too. If the mature age job seeker does not receive income support from our government then they are not eligible and an employer cannot receive the subsidy for them, even if they are the best person or the job.  Question, “How serious is our Federal Government about encouraging employment of more mature age workers when such pitifully inadequate subsidies like Restart are offered?”

The Minister also tells me that the “Job Active providers are paid on the basis of outcomes and receive a modest fee to cover administration.”  If this is true how are they able to support so many staff, offices and cars and still not find jobs for mature age workers? If the Job Active network is so effective and paid on placement of people into jobs, why are our unemployment figures in the Northern Rivers still so high? The Job Active providers network costs us many millions of dollars, nationally, each year but we’re never told how many new jobs it creates….Why is this so?

Personally, I’m tired of our government paying lip service to employing mature age job seekers without putting anything meaningful in place to make it happen so, it’s time to mobilise the mature age job seekers into action. If you agree more needs to be done, please write a letter to your local MP and/or to the Minister and ask them to divert some of the “modest fees paid to Job Active providers” into an incentive program for employers that actively supports ALL mature age job seekers.  The address for the Minister is Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600.

Your comments to this post are also welcome.

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