7 September 2022, Guardian Australia, Luke Henriques-Gomes. Access the full article here.

Woman says job agency administering program also asked her to attend face-to-face meeting after major surgery

Single mothers have told of having to miss paid work to attend a ParentsNext appointment or being encouraged to sign up to unnecessary training by providers running the federal government’s $110m-a-year program.

The scheme, part of Australia’s sprawling outsourced billion-dollar welfare-to-work system, pays companies and charities to provide guidance and support to single parents on benefits whose children are aged between nine months and five years old.

About 80,000 parenting payment recipients are compelled to attend appointments and take part in activities – such as playgroup, storytime or education courses – to assist them with parenting and prepare them for work.

When I first started my last job, I had to take the day off work because she was insistent that I come in… That cost me about four-and-a-half hours – I was getting $26 an hour.

– Danni Ramage, single mum

Employment services survey

The Punishment for Profit report is based on hundreds of responses to surveys conducted by the Antipoverty Centre. This research is ongoing. If you are in Workforce Australia, Disability Employment Services or a similar program, we welcome any information you are able to share about your experiences.

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