Thursday, November 29, 2007

Why DH has quit F/T work: Spreadsheet of a disincentive


The pincers in action: DOH and Centrelink between them manage to create the mother of all disincentives to work and education.

DH has quit F/T work. It just wasn't worth it. Tired all the time, no money, her daughter is a stranger, she hasn't visited her mother in yonks, the house is a mess, no money for repairs or maintenance, and not even enough money leftover for the all important lattes.

Spreadsheet based on DH's weekly payslips
over the past 6 months, by hours worked.*

The blue line shows DH's net weekly income after rent, for 21 hours work.

As you can see, her net actually gets LOWER with every additional hour worked until she hits 29 hours, or an extra day.

Consider her poor employers, a NSW Govt Department. She made them give her a raise as a matter of pride*, but while the difference between her minimum and maximum gross income is $490 she only ends up with $92 in her pocket

Given that $400 must cover: groceries, private health insurance, prescription meds ($100 a month), rising costs of public transport, gas and electricity, communications costs, more expensive work clothes (the old grey trackies would hardly do), repairs, outings, gifts, memberships, holidays (what holidays???), replacement of white goods (which are now 30 years old)...

Wait, there are more disincentives ...
DH actually pays more rent than she should, ie she pays more than the amounts on the spreadsheet. The amounts shown are what she should be paying. But DOH averages earnings over the past 6 months. As DH's income has been steadily dropping, she doesn't have the energy to go through the rigmarole of filling in the subsidy forms every time her rent drops, since it involves much frenzied faxing between herself, her employment agency, and DOH. She'd rather just pay the extra and have a life ...

... it's not much of an incentive, is it?
* Amounts rounded to nearest integer. Hours rounded to nearest 1/2 hour. DH's family income is augmented by her child's disability pension, which is about $150 a week, and on which about $13 extra rent is charged. DOH deems about $600 to be an average income. Even when DH earns over $1000, she finds she has to get charity help to make ends meet. Still, its better than living in most of Africa, South America, the Middle East, Bangladesh, so mustn't complain too much.

No comments: