Ensuring income support payments are adequate to cover the basics will not act as a disincentive to employment.
Jobseeker is much lower than the minimum wage
At present, JobSeeker Payment is just 42% of the minimum wage. If JobSeeker was permanently lifted to $76 a day, it would be less than two-thirds of the minimum wage. This means that people will still be better off financially in paid work.
Professor Jeff Borland conducted research on the effect of higher income support payments on the take-up of paid work among people on JobSeeker Payment when they received the Coronavirus Supplement. He found there was no discernible effect on movement into paid work, which was on par with what it was pre-pandemic.
The inadequate rate of JobSeeker Payment acts as a barrier to getting paid work
The low rate of income support creates a barrier to paid work because the constant financial stress people on JobSeeker face as well as the inability to pay for healthcare and medicine harms their mental and physical health. JobSeeker Payment is so low at $54 a day that people are unable to pay rent and bills or cover the cost of fresh food. Buying petrol or fixing the car is nearly impossible, as is buying suitable clothing for a job interview or even getting a haircut.
An adequate rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments will help people cover the basics while they reskill, care for children, study, or search for paid work.
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