Jobseeker meetings with job service providers are to take place over the phone or via video under changes introduced by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.
Minister for Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash welcomed the changes to the employment services system saying they would align and enhance the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new arrangements ratify and bolster a pre-existing direction to employment service providers to be more flexible during this challenging period,” Senator Cash said.
She said the changes reduced the need for face-to-face contact when requested by a job seeker or job service provider.
“These changes prioritise the welfare of job seekers but will also help keep those out of work actively engaged and supported to take up critical jobs in demand now, and when the economy recovers,” she said.
She said job seekers would still be required to attend any scheduled job interviews and take up offers of suitable work, with existing compliance penalties to be applied when that did not occur.
“These changes will ensure people who are out of work can reliably receive income support and are safely engaged and supported to get a job, whilst supporting employers’ to protect their workforce and viability,” Senator Cash said.
She said the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s ‘Job Plans’ would be adjusted to a default requirement of four job searches a month (or fewer, at provider discretion) to reflect the softening labour market conditions, while ‘’Work for the Dole’ and other activities delivered in group settings would be suspended until further notice.
“The Department will also write to employment services CEOs to outline the critical role providers will play in the weeks and months ahead to ensure workforce demands can be met where required,” Senator Cash said.
“Continuing mutual obligations under significantly more flexible arrangements strikes the balance between ensuring Australians are kept safe and keeping jobseekers and engaged with the labour market and ready for work,” she said.