There are jobs employers just can’t find Kiwis to fill – and the welfare system may be to blame.
But Jess Berentson-Shaw – Morgan Foundation researcher and author of Pennies from Heaven – said the current welfare system could be partly to blame too.
Many of the benefits and supports have the unintended consequence of making work unappealing.
She pointed to sole parents.
When someone is getting sole-parent support they can only earn up to $100 a week before losing 70c of net benefit for every $1 earned.
But to get the $72.50 in-work tax credit (IWTC) under the Working for Families scheme they need to work a minimum 20 hours a week and give up their benefit.
Then there are other costs, too.
‘A sole parent on a low income must keep their work hours to the minimum 20 hours to avoid the extra costs of unsubsidised childcare’ she said.
‘But if they work just under 20 hours – to align with the childcare part-subsidy p- they lose the IWTC.
It is a rock and a hard place scenario’.
Some are reluctant to give up their Jobseeker Support to take temporary work because of the stand-down periods that apply if they need to return to it.
The Working for Families system itself can be problematic because the amount of support a family gets drops as the household income increases – which means some second-earners do not have the same incentive to take work or longer hours if it tips the household over into the next salary band.