While MSD may say that it doesn’t sanction people over refusing to take casual, insecure work, our group is aware that Work & Income offices often interpret policy in ways that aren’t consistent with either common sense or national policy guidelines.
AUCKLAND ACTION AGAINST POVERTY
No zero hours at Work & Income either
Media release Wed 15 April 2015
Any new law on zero hours contracts must make it absolutely explicit that beneficiaries are not to be work tested for jobs where there are no guaranteed minimum hours and days of work.
This morning Workplace Minister Michael Woodhouse outlined potential law changes on zero hours contracts.
“The interface with employment requirements at Work and Income was not mentioned,” says AAAP spokesperson Sue Bradford.
“While MSD may say that it doesn’t sanction people over refusing to take casual, insecure work, our group is aware that Work & Income offices often interpret policy in ways that aren’t consistent with either common sense or national policy guidelines.
“For example, people can lose their benefits or have them cut by 50% for not taking a particular job, even when the work is totally inappropriate to their personal situation.
“Given the huge push by National to get 100,000 people off working age benefits, which it blithely calls the ‘investment approach’, we would like to see much greater protections for beneficiaries from the vagaries of front line interpretation of policy and regulation.
“Without explicit law as protection, it is all too possible that insecure work may be used as a sanctioning tool at some offices.”
“We urge Mr Woodhouse and the Government to introduce a clause in any forthcoming bill ensuring that no beneficiary will be required to take work that does not guarantee a minimum number of hours on fixed and known days each week.
“AAAP calls on all other parties in Parliament to support such a measure.
“Our members are out on the streets today supporting Unite Union’s bid to end zero hours contracts at Macdonalds, and congratulate Unite on the progress they have made so far.
“This is a problem that needs to be tackled by both Parliament and employers, so that no New Zealand worker ever again finds themselves on a zero hours contract, or penalised for not signing up to one.”