NZIIS Claimants will be offered support to get back to work
Our scheme aims to help people find good new jobs that match their skills and aspirations. It also aims to help people use the time to learn new skills or rehabilitate from a health condition or disability.
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Claimants are expected to look for work or participate in training or rehabilitation
Claimants will need to search and prepare for work, and demonstrate this. They’ll need to accept any job offer that matches their previous income and other terms and conditions.
These obligations may be waived if someone’s health condition or disability limits what they can do. They could also be waived if someone is in an approved training or rehabilitation programme to help support a return to work.
Claimants will need to remain in New Zealand while receiving payments, except when going overseas for things like funerals, weddings or health treatments.
Support will be available for people to find work and connect them with training or rehabilitation programmes
Claimants’ needs are likely to vary significantly. Some people may not need support in their job hunt, while others may benefit from more active guidance. Case managers will be available to develop a tailored return-to-work plan for claimants who need it. Case managers can also encourage and motivate claimants in their job search or help them to return to work.
Services will vary for people who need help for health or disability reasons. Some people will be able to return to work relatively quickly with support. Others may take longer to return to work and need more structured and intensive support. Income insurance provides the time for people to get this.
As part of implementing the scheme, we’ll be looking at ways to ensure case management meets people’s cultural and personal needs, including for Māori, Pacific peoples and other ethnic groups.
While financial support will be for a maximum of six months, this could be extended for up to 12 months for people undertaking appropriate training or vocational rehabilitation programmes. This is common in international schemes, and ensures those in the scheme have financial security if they are training or rehabilitating.
Most other forms of government support are not affected
Insurance payments will be considered as income. They’ll be taxed, and used to work out if someone’s eligible for other support, like Working for Families, the Accommodation Supplement or the Student Allowance. People can receive superannuation at the same time. People on paid parental leave will be eligible for insurance payments at 80% of their normal salary, but these won’t be paid at the same time.
If people are not able to return to work, the welfare system remains available to support them. The Government is committed to ongoing reforms to improve the welfare system.
People can work part-time while receiving payments
Taking on occasional or part-time work can be valuable in a job search. It can keep people’s skills and experience fresh and boost their mental health and wellbeing. The scheme will allow people to earn up to 20% of their previous income without their insurance payments being affected. Any earnings above this will see their insurance payments reduce by $1 for every $1 they earn.
If claimants don’t meet their obligations, payments may be stopped as a last resort
People will be encouraged and supported in their job search. In rare cases of a pattern of non-compliance, people will be given notice and time to meet their obligations. If they fail to do so, insurance payments may be temporarily stopped.
Angeli is a mechanical engineer working on industrial boilers, but a vacancy in New Zealand’s growing space industry attracts their interest.
They always had a passion for space, and would love to take on the role, but with a mortgage and two children, Angeli is nervous to trade their secure job and enter a new industry. The introduction of an income insurance scheme provides them with the security they need. Angeli takes the risk, and, two years later, is still working for the same company as one of their lead rocket engineers.
Manaia has worked for 30 years as a primary school teacher. She loved the job, but chronic back pain due to osteoarthritis means she can no longer bend down to help her young students with their studies.
Manaia’s doctor advises her to stop working, so she takes a break, supported by insurance payments. She works with her case manager on options, and signs up for a 17-week course in business administration. She returns to her primary school, this time in an administrator role in the school’s office. It’s a win-win – Manaia continues to play an important role in the children’s education and the school can use her insights and experience in new ways.
Our questions for you
Aside from financial support, can you think of any other support that would help workers return to work?
What obligations should there be on people receiving income insurance payments? What should happen if claimants don’t fulfil their obligations?
Should people be able to receive support for up to 12 months if they are in an approved training or rehabilitation programme? Extended support will mean higher levies, and may help some people return to work.