There seems to be a bit of talk around the Employment Fund and how people think it works. It is not specifically an amount of money that ‘belongs’ to any one jobseeker.
As each jobseeker is registered with a provider, the provider is paid an amount into the Employment Fund. The Employment Fund consists of 2 parts, the General Account and the Wage Subsidy Account. Both accounts are held by the Government and can be accessed by the provider.
The General Account
This is a flexible pool of funds that can be accessed by providers for reimbursement of goods or services which genuinely assist stream participants to build experience and skills to gain employment.
When a provider uses the General Account, they must ensure that the purchase:
provide eligible job seekers with the work-related tools, skills and experience that correspond with their difficulties in finding and keeping a job in the relevant labour market
provide value for money
comply with any work health and safety laws that may apply
withstand public scrutiny
will not bring Employment Services or the Government into disrepute.
Assistance that may be provided to jobseekers, under the Employment Fund Guidelines, are as follows:
Clothing and presentation (for job interviews, commencement of employment etc.)
Employer related training (non-accredited only) – should your provider need to train your employer in a particular process or management strategy to meet a job seekers needs)
Cards and vouchers for food, phone calls or petrol
Jobseeker transport (Public transport)
Non-Work for the Dole Activity costs (eg. Risk Assessments etc.)
Post placement support (should a jobseeker require assistance in addressing issues to maintaining employed)
Professional services (Psychologists or allied health professionals who hold applicable registrations to deliver these services)
Rent and crisis accommodation (only when the provider has exhausted all other avenues – only available one per period of unemployment, unless under special circumstances such as domestic violence)
Assistance with legal and utility expenses (electricity etc.) – STREAM C ONLY
Targeted pre-employment preparation (Foundation skills trainin, employability training for one period of unemployment by jobseeker)) - STREAMS B & C ONLY (capped at $300 per Stream B and $500 per Stream C)
Tools, books, equipment and mobile phone
Tools and equipment for jobseekers to find and keep a job (this may not be approved until you have secured the job and have a start date)
Books and equipment for jobseekers to undertake training or educational placements
The cost of basic mobile phones (calls, texts, possible emails), for the handset only – not credit.
Other work related items that will assist the jobseeker in securing and/or maintaining employment.
Work Trials limited to no more than 2 weeks and only for the wages earned in that period. There must be a position available to be filled for a paid job trial to go ahead. The employer must pay the jobseeker and the provider can reimburse them. This must be agreed upon between all parties prior to the work trial taking place.
Work related licensing (Forklift, OHS etc.)
For a provider to claim reimbursement from the Employment Fund – General Account, they must retain documentary evidence – receipts, comments, etc. - in order to justify the expenditure.
There are certain goods and/or services that the provider CAN NOT claim for. These are normally services that are expected to be part of the service the provider is contracted to provide under the Employment Services Deed 2015-2020. These are, but not limited to:
job search training, including résumé writing, job application, interview skills development
non-accredited training, except employability and foundation skills training for Streams B and C or where the training is a requirement of the specific Employer to prepare the job seeker for their Vacancy
any assessment tool costs, including the cost of accessing or using any skills, vocational or non-vocational assessment tools
any Contacts with the job seeker
mentoring Services outside of post-placement support (including NEIS Participants)
any costs associated with Work for the Dole or funded through Work for the Dole activities
the costs of police or criminal records checks for Supervisors on non-Work for the Dole Activities
any costs and overheads associated with:
the provision of Employment Services
cost of Service delivery on an outreach basis
the administration of the Employment Fund
legal fees or security costs incurred by the Provider
an Employer’s workers compensation or insurance policy Payments
Provider-supplied transport, including costs such as bus hire to transfer multiple job seekers to a training activity or Employment location
verification of Employment or Education for the purpose of an Outcome claim
assets that remain the property of the Provider or assets for a job seeker or Employer that are not used exclusively to assist the job seeker in accordance with the Employment Fund principles
assistance to gain or regain a driver’s licence after loss due to driving offences
gifts, cash and incentives to job seekers or Employers, including pay-outs of loans or credit cards
fines or court fees
relocation assistance to assist job seekers relocating overseas
for goods or services where the provider is entitled to payment from the Department, other Commonwealth sources or state, territory or local government bodies for those items
for goods and/or services that are directly funded through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy or VTEC
any goods or services the provider has indicated in their tender response that they would fund outside the Employment Fund
Providers can ONLY claim reimbursement for the cost of the goods or services, they can not add additional fees on top in order to make a profit from it. The Employment Fund is reimbursement only, not sales and service, and must have evidence of the cost of the goods or services.
I must make it clear here, that it is not as though you can walk in to a provider and demand money or reimbursement for a pair of new TN’s or for that pottery course you wanted to do with your mum… that’s not going to happen. All expenditure of the Employment Fund (GA) must demonstrate value for money. Don’t forget that it is to ‘get you through’ until you are in a better position – due to employment – to finance you own needs.
Ok, now the part that you have all been waiting for me to get to. Just how much does the provider receive per jobseeker. Well, this is how it goes:
For each jobseeker ‘commenced’ into services, a credit is made to the General Account of that provider for:
Stream A - $300 credited at 13 weeks of registration
Stream B - $850 credited upon commencement into Stream B
Stream C - $1200 credited upon commencement into Stream C
These fees are only paid once per stream, per period of unemployment (an period of unemployment starts from when a jobseeker commences into services until a jobseeker exits the services.)
Now, just because these are paid per jobseeker, does not mean that those amounts are attached to the jobseeker and that these are the ‘limits’ of which assistance will be provided. These funds are all added to a pool. Now just because a provider has been credited $850 for 1 Stream B jobseeker, it does not mean that the whole $850 will be spent on that one jobseeker, nor does it mean the jobseeker is limited to that amount. E.G.
Ally is a Stream A (SPI) jobseeker and has now reached 13 weeks of unemployment, the provider is now eligible to claim the Employment Fund credit for BOTH General Account of $300 and Wage Subsidy Account of $990.
Ally gets a job the following week, full-time employment. As Ally has only ever worked in a business environment, she has mostly shoes with heels, which aren’t appropriate for her new position, which is retail, Ally will need more appropriate shoes. Ally was assisted with suitable shoes for work, that were deemed to be value for money and ideal for being on her feet all day. The value of the shoes were $50.
Further to this, Sally needs assistance with her fuel for the first week of employment, until she receives her wages. Her provider agrees to assist with $50 in fuel vouchers, as she only has a 4-cylinder vehicle and is working within the local area.
So, of the $300 credited for Ally, only $100 was used leaving a balance of $200.
John is another Stream A (SPI) participant, he has secured a job, but needs to obtain his OHS Whitecard and renew his forklift ticket prior to commencement. John has given his provider written evidence, from the employer, that he will be offered permanent full-time employment if he does this.
John’s provider agrees to assist with payment of his OHS Whitecard and renew his forklift. The total cost of both is $230. John then advises his provider that he needs steel cap boots and Hi-Vis shirts enough to cover 5 – 6 days of work. His provider agrees to assist with the purchase of 1 x pair of steel cap boots and 3 x Hi-Vis shirts which comes to a total of $150. The total spent to assist John is $380
So of the $300 credited for John, expenditure went over by $80, however, it was under by $100 for Ally.
Assistance doesn’t stop, just because you’ve reached they amount the were credited for you.
Keep in mind that this fund is to assist you to gain employment and can include counselling with psychologists etc – the point is to get you on your way to preparing, searching, securing, and then maintain employment.
If you completed a course in hospitality and now want to start one in horticulture, they may decline your request, and perhaps rightly so, unless you can justify this to them and you have an acceptable reason.
Now I think this basically covers it, obviously, as it is with Government Guidelines and legislation, so if there are any questions do not hesitate to ask, I will be more than happy to try to clear them up for you.