A community organisation was recently in need of recruiting additional staff, the following outlines their experience.
In order to spread the net wide to find staff, the organisation decided to list the vacancies on TradeMe, Seek and Student Job Search (SJS), as well as registering the vacancy with WINZ.
It was surprising to see the low volume in applicants, so further checks were made with WINZ. Soon a list of people who met the minimum criteria on the WINZ Employer site it was thought perhaps the organisation would be soon be interviewing.
An initial list of about 14 people who had some of the minimums required – sales, telemarketing were put together, WINZ were emailed to get these jobseekers in for an interview. From here, this could make for disturbing reading.
Only one person from this list was interested in coming in for an interview; the work broker was called and asked how jobseekers could opt out of applying for jobs.
The response received was that it wasn’t possible to send someone for an interview if they didn’t want to go, that it would only be a waste of time for the employer.
In telling the broker that the organisation would be happy to see anyone, that they’d be quite happy to try and “sell” the position to anyone who came along; they were told that this wasn’t possible if people said they didn’t want to go, they couldn’t be forced.
This seemed odd, maybe it was only this particular work broker who had this view. But, in calling the main Wellington office –the same response was received.
In asking about the obligations of job seekers, that they had signed a commitment to apply for jobs they had skills for or some form of transferable skill; that they also had to be available for work; again the response was “we can’t force people.”
Seems work brokers don’t read what’s on the WINZ website “Obligations for getting Jobseeker Support” – it states:
These are what you have to do to receive payments from Work and Income. You have full-time work obligations while you’re getting Jobseeker Support. If you’re a partner you also have full-time work obligations if you’re:
- 18 years or over and have no dependent children, or
- 19 years or over and have no dependent children under 14 years (including any child you get Orphan’s Benefit or Unsupported Child’s Benefit for).
People in other situations may have part-time work obligations, work preparation obligations, or youth activity obligations, depending on their circumstances.
The website also states:
- attend and take part in any suitable job interviews we ask you to
Perhaps in this case, WINZ could say “We didn’t feel the vacancy was “suitable” – thus, they’d be seen to be upholding the obligation WINZ has to assist people in finding work, and therefore take the heat of the jobseekers who apply for jobs.
Perhaps this is an isolated case, maybe it is common, who knows; let’s hope it’s just rogue staff.