Welfare meetings move online
The Federal Government is pushing employment service providers to move meetings online.
Employment minister Michaelia Cash says a raft of mandatory activities that usually require face-to-face attendance will be shunted online.
It is a huge move that many providers will struggle to make.
The ‘jobactive’ network of around 1,700 employment providers makes great efforts to compel welfare recipients to turn up to their offices and use computers for job hunting, CV writing and interviews, which are required activities to keep their payments.
Providers will now have to set up online accounts for clients to dial-in remotely, and create new ways to log and review online job searches. This may involve providing remote technology to those without access to computers or the internet.
“The Government has announced a number of changes to mutual obligation requirements to reduce or eliminate the need for face-to-face contact, when requested by a job seeker or service provider,” Senator Cash said in a statement.
“Job seekers will have the option to request that face-to-face meetings with their job service providers take place over the phone or via an online channel such as Skype.”
It is a major move for the employment service providers technologically, but also culturally, as they have been set up in large part to force job-hunters out of their house.
Physical attendance has also been used to identify welfare claimants with regular cash jobs but claim the dole anyway.
Many welfare recipients claim their employment providers do very little to actually find them a job, and are more focused on ticking boxes to maintain their contracts with the government agency.
Now, with COVID-19 shutting down large parts of the economy, its is expected that employment demand will dry up, and the work of employment providers will become something of a façade to cover up a stagnant job market.
One of the major complaints of job-seekers and employment providers relates to the compulsory quotas for job applications.
In regions of high unemployment, forcing people to apply for 20 jobs per month adds significant costs to process and respond to.
Senator Cash has dialled-back that requirement.
“Job Plans will be adjusted to a default requirement of four job searches a month (or fewer at provider discretion) to reflect the softening labour conditions,” she said.