Last week the Abbott Government announced its draft plan for a $5.1 billion new national employment services system to commence from July 2015. Included in the plan was an expanded, mandatory Work for the Dole program first announced in May’s federal budget, which would require all jobseekers aged 18-49 to undertake up to 25 hours per week of unpaid community work in order to receive income support payments.
On top of this, the plan will require all unemployed job-seekers to apply for 40 jobs every month in order to qualify for income support benefits.
“It’s most important that job seekers look for work,” Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker said while explaining the plan. “It is absolutely obvious that if you are sitting at home not looking for work, you are unlikely to get a job.”
But the plan has potentially massive implications for the not-for-profit sector, in particular it’s potential impact on NFP recruitment.
With more than 840,000 Australians currently receiving unemployment benefits, the requirement that every one of them create 40 new job applications every month could mean up to 30 million additional applications are created for the same number of current vacancies. Realistically, many of these new applications would be irrelevant, or “spam” applications.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is worried that the requirement will “flood the business community with a whole range of job applications just for the sake of people fulfilling their requirements.” Peter Strong of the Council of Small Business of Australia says their member companies “will be inundated . . . it’s going to make people angry.”
What percentage of these additional applications will be received by NFPs is difficult to estimate, but it will literally be millions more applications that NFPs will need to process each month, which will result in hundreds of thousands of hours of wasted time for already stretched organisations.
For NFP organisations recruiting new staff, millions of additional, largely junk applications will create chaos for recruitment staff and hiring managers.
Many organisations already struggle with a deluge of spam applications when advertising jobs on mass-market job sites, wasting hours or even days sifting through irrelevant applications. These new changes will make this process much, much worse.
In addition, NFP organsations will be under pressure from the government to be involved in the expanded, mandatory Work for the Dole program, which could place additional pressure on HR departments which will need to manage placements for large numbers of untrained and involuntary “volunteers”.
Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on family and community services, warned that the impact of the work-for the-dole requirements would be highly disruptive for NFPs.
“Not-for-profits will end up bearing the cost of providing placements, with Government obviously lining them up as a cheap way of implementing their flawed work for the dole regime.
“Not-for-profits are not employment bodies and they are not training organisations. Being asked to provide placements for potentially hundreds of thousands of people will be disruptive to their ongoing work and will put even more strain on their operations.”
How will the new requirements affect your organisation? Please help by explaining how your organisation will be impacted in the comments below.