Penalty Rates are a legal provision within the Jobseeker schemes to ensure that the Department can achieve compliance with Government Activation Policy as stated in Pathways to Work.
Activation measures include the requirement to attend group or individual meetings, and/or avail of suitable education, training or development opportunities, or specified employment programmes, which are considered appropriate to a person’s circumstances.
Social Welfare legislation provides that penalties in the form of reduced payments may be imposed by a Deciding Officer of my Department, where recipients of jobseeker payments fail, without good cause, to comply with activation measures. Reduced rates are only applied where a jobseeker fails to engage as requested, and following at least two warnings, with the Department’s employment services.
The Jobseeker can appeal the Deciding Officer’s decision for reduced rate penalties and for a 9 week disqualification, through the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).