New incentive to hire staff
Unemployed people are being given a helping hand back into the workforce, writes Lauren Novak
WORKERS are reaping the rewards of a Federal Government jobs initiative aimed at getting the long-term unemployed back to work.
The $95 million federal Wage Connect program subsidises employers to hire and retain people who have been out of the workforce for significant amounts of time.
Employers receive about $5700, or $220 a week, to offset wage and training costs for new employees for their first six months.
The subsidy is equivalent to the average rate of the Newstart Allowance over 26 weeks.
Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis says people who have been unemployed for a long time often do not have the necessary skills and work experience for which employers are looking.
‘‘ Once a job seeker has been unemployed for one year they have a 54 per cent chance of being unemployed for at least one more year,’’ she says.
‘‘ This (Wage Connect) investment is about working with employers to give Australians who have been on income support for a long time a chance to get the skills and experience they need to be in the paid workforce.’’
Mother of four Julie Pen- fold, 44, is among the first placed under the scheme.
Through agency Jobs Statewide, she secured part-time work at a Hungry Jacks store after a decade of unemployment.
Penfold dropped out of the workforce to have children and found it hard to re-enter.
‘‘ Nobody wants to give you a go when you’re older,’’ she says. ‘‘ When they said I had the job, it was brilliant.
‘‘ After being out of work for so long it’s fantastic actually getting back out into the workforce.
‘‘ It was good to show that I still had something to give.’’
Back into the workforce, Julie Penfold.