What does the new employment service system mean for job seekers?

Learn how 'Workforce' would provide a 'fresh start' for new employees

What does the new employment service system mean for job seekers?

Recently, the Albanese Labor Government announced the shift to the new employment service system, “Workforce,” starting 4 July. HRD reported on the transition to a new employment system, but why did the government say it would provide a “clean slate” for job seekers?

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Tony Burke said that Workforce Australia would provide “more flexibility” for potential workers in how they choose to get job-ready.

Under the current Jobactive, Burke said that participants should complete 20 job applications as a mutual obligation in exchange for income support.

However, Burke said that Jobactive was a “rigid system that all too often resulted in job seekers applying for work they were not suited to, wasting their time and the time of employers.”

A fresh start for Australians

The government said Workforce Australia would focus on a Points-Based Activation System (PBAS) that would give participants different choices and control over how they meet their mutual obligation.

With Workforce Australia, Burke said that people who have accumulated penalties or demerits under the old system could start over again under the new one. “A new system means a fresh start,” he said.

The minister said that this “fresh start” will give participants several months to adapt to the new system with little risk of financial penalty.

Meanwhile, people who have continued to do what they did under the old system, that being, applying for 20 jobs a month, need not worry because, according to Burke, they will still meet their points requirements and satisfy their mutual obligation.

The minister also said that his department worked to make immediate changes to the new policy, which included:

  • Increasing the points value attached to a number of the activities that help people get job-ready and move into secure jobs 
  • Ensuring that someone participating in full-time study or training that improves their long-term job prospects is not putting their qualifications at risk. This includes ensuring vulnerable individuals will have no job search requirements if they undertake approved short full-time courses.
  • Reducing the new minimum job search requirement from 5 to 4 per month.
  • Reducing the points target for some participants to better recognise personal circumstances and weak labour market conditions that could impact their ability to find work.

“These changes will provide real incentives for people who are making an extra effort to be job-ready,” Burke said.

Shortly before the election, Burke said that the previous federal government had locked in the points system and signed more than $7bil worth of contracts with providers. Yet, the previous government never had a proper explanation of the new system to Australians.

“That’s one of the reasons the new Government is implementing a ‘clean slate’ policy,” Burke said.

The minister said that individuals affected by the transitions would be guided through their current Jobactive inboxes and that the government added more staff to the Digital Services Contact Centre to answer the queries and concerns of individuals.       

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