Work & Income says 90 day jobs don’t count-Green says - RePress

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Tuesday, March 3

Work & Income says 90 day jobs don’t count-Green says

The 90 day law has already been used to deny one unemployed person assistance to which they would otherwise be entitled, Green Party Employment Spokesperson Sue Bradford said today.

Even though the new law only came into force on Sunday, the Linwood Work and Income office in Christchurch last week declined an application for relocation assistance on the grounds that the unemployed applicant was on a 90 day trial and therefore not in ‘permanent employment’.

When National rushed the 90 day bill through under urgency last year, the Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson repeatedly assured Parliament and the public that people on benefits would not be disadvantaged, Ms Bradford said.

"I am therefore alarmed by this case in which a Dunedin man with a young family got a job in Christchurch starting tomorrow and needed help with bond money for a house, but was declined because Work and Income did not see employment under the 90 day rule as being the same as other jobs.

"However Work and Income did grant him $1050 for his family to live temporarily in a cabin at a camping ground.

"This man is committed to getting off the benefit and into paid work. He’s moved cities and is trying to do his best for his family.

"It is ludicrous that Work and Income is prepared to pay for a temporary stay at a camping ground, while refusing to help the family with bond for a permanent house.

"When I asked the Minister of Social Development Paula Bennett questions about this in Parliament this afternoon, she seemed unaware of the problem.

"She also did not seem able to give any clear assurance that unemployed people will not in future be subject to similar discrimination when they apply for assistance from Work and Income.

"I call on Ms Bennett and the Government to take a long hard look at the impact of the 90 day law on everyone moving between the benefit system and employment, something they should have done a lot sooner.

"All jobseekers deserve to be treated the same whether the employment they secure is under the 90 day rule or not."

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