Workplace Flexibility Key for Youths


By Domanii Cameron


Workplace flexibility may be the key in  helping youths find employment, particularly students.


Following the Federal Government’s decision to cut youth welfare in the 2014-2015 Budget, workplaces are being urged to consider students and prospective employees when it comes to designating hours.


The Federal Government is planning to cut welfare to the unemployed under the age of 29 unless exempted, resulting in nossible  income losses of up to $255 per week.


Member for Parliament from the Division of Leichhardt in Queensland, Warren Entsch says young people are feeling the grunt when businesses cannot afford to pay penalty rates.


“The fact that you’ve got to be under 18 to get junior rates makes it very difficult and that’s wrong,” Mr Entsch says.


“We need to be allowed to let our young people work.”


Governments must allow businesses to have a more flexible roster to accommodate for youths who are unable to work regular hours.


“Now we’re not talking exploitation but just extended hours so they can work and earn,” he says.


“This is something we need to address if we’re going to do this properly.”


Mr Entsch says pushing young people into work or study will help them out of the welfare system.


“We did make a commitment where we would be trying to get people off welfare and into the workforce or study,” he says.


“Young people will be paid $2500 if they are able to find a job and hold it down for 12 months.


“That’s a good incentive.


“And we’ll be giving a further $2000 if they can hold the job down for another 12 months.”


Youths to feel full effect of new budget. PHOTO CREDIT: Google Images

Youths to feel full effect of new budget. PHOTO CREDIT: Google Images


For youths who need to relocate to find work, welfare will also be available.


“About $40 million has been targeted to programs that will offer support for job seekers who need to relocate,” Mr Entsch says.


“Up to $6000 will be available to those we have to relocate from a regional area and $3000 if they need to relocate to a metropolitan area from a regional area.


“If they have a family, then there will be another opportunity to get a further $3000 on top of that.”


“We’re gong to make it a bit tougher for you to get access to the doll or whatever but we’re going to make an incentive so that you actually get out there and do something else if it means picking fruit or dairy.”


Australian Council of Social Services Media Advisor Fernando de Freitas says young people are already subject to tough requirements and that the new budget will not help.


“Perhaps the harshest measure [of the Budget] is the new rules to deny income support to young people,” Fernando says.


“Young people are already subject to tough requirements to get assistance.


“For instance, people under 22 years who leave school early are already required to complete school or train, or they lose income support.


“Those over 21 are required to search for 10 jobs a fortnight and prove it to Centrelink or they risk a loss of payments for eight weeks.”


De Freitas says to assist youths, the focus should be on opening up job opportunities.


“This should be done in collaboration with business leaders, investors, local communities, and social services to give young people hope, and help them get a foot in the door,” he says.


An effective way to address long-term unemployment would be to recognise skills and capability related barriers.


“A first step would be to increase the availability of places in cost-effective wage subsidy programs such as Wage Connect, and Youth Connections, providing a subsidy roughly equivalent to the Newstart Allowance to a real employer, and mentoring and sustained supports,” he says.


“This gives young people the work experience they desperately want.”


Queensland Youth Services CEO Wendy Lang says the cuts will make youth unemployment worse.


“I think the best way to deal with high rate of youth unemployment is to introduce more traineeships and apprenticeships or other aspects which can give young people more of an opportunity to get experience,” Lang  says.


“Unless they can get work experience and be exposed to a work environment, how are they going to decide on a training course that is actually going down the path that they want to take.”


For more information on how the Budget will affect you, click here.