Just $1 an hour

Why should anyone work for just $1 an hour? the opponents to the government’s plans to work-test sickness beneficiaries are asking.

The answer is: is the abatement rates which impose a high marginal tax on extra income for all beneficiaries.

But if the benefit isn’t abated, beneficiaries would get more for part time work than some others would for fulltime work and that’s definitely neither fair nor right.

The problem isn’t that beneficiaries are working for just $1 an hour, it’s that they aren’t working for all the other dollars they get.

There are good reasons why some people need a benefit temporarily. There are good reasons why a few people will need a benefit permanently.

But getting those who are able to work in to work, albeit part time, is better than leaving them to do nothing on a benefit.

Working isn’t just about the money you earn, it’s about satisfaction, standing on your own feet, and requiring less from the public purse which frees up money for those who need it more.

It’s unfortunate but unavoidable that some beneficiaries may find they’re only $1 an hour better off than they would be if they weren’t working. But they won’t be working for only $1 an hour.

They’ll be working for all the dollars the taxpayer gives them plus the $1 an hour.

That’s better for them, better for the economy and better for society.

2 Responses to Just $1 an hour

  1. gravedodger says:

    Why oh why can’t the repeaters in the MSM be just a wee bit objective, analytical, and dare I say accurate and accept the fact that the Beneficiary is, as you point out, not working in the true sense of the word for the state reward they receive.
    The sound bite that the media have continued with in no way separates the welfare (entitlement as is now too widely accepted) from the reward of payment for work.
    As a side benefit pointed out by Minister Bennett, work is good for the soul and low level depression (the blues in the language of last century) and other minor mental conditions can be alleviated by participating in the reality of actually working and contributing to society.
    In all my years of work among community volunteers I am unaware of anyone on a DPB, sickness or unemployment benefit among my fellow vollies, accepting that is not always the case, just in my own small world. I do however see many among my companion beneficiaries, OAPs.

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  2. Hollyfield says:

    Hear, hear.

    Also, some opponents to the idea of DPB recipients working part time have said that everything they earn will be lost through paying for after school care. This is *not true*. Firstly the requirement is only to work 15 hours a week, and children are at school for 30 hours a week. Plus WINZ pays an OSCAR (out of school care and recreation) subsidy to working parents. I am a single parent working full time (have never received a core benefit) and WINZ pays a subsidy towards my daughter’s after school care – the weekly cost is now only $1.65 per week for me.

    I’m sick of hearing about the need to be there for your kids – plenty of other parents, myself included, work and still provide for our kids emotionally etc.

    We had two vacancies at my work just recently, 35 hours per week, school term time only (so ideal for people with children) and paying $20.50 per hour plus 8% holiday pay, which by the way works out to significantly more than minimum wage in a full time 52 weeks a year job. But we had only 18 applicants, for two positions. Based in an Auckland suburb there should have been many people interested in these jobs I feel.

    Paula Bennett spoke on Q+A about parents working together to help each other with childcare – one mother who perhaps works 20 hours a week every single week could do the before school and after school care, while a mother doing the job mentioned above could do all of the school holiday care. No cost to either of them.

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