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Work obligations

People receiving benefits in relation to employment assistance often have a reciprocal obligation to actively seek work. These research reports look at the effectiveness and impact of work obligations on people.

These research reports and documents have been released as part of a programme of work to develop a research archive and improve access to historic research previously not released by the Ministry. We will potentially be adding to this page over time.

The impact of the future focus work obligations for sole parents: technical report

2013 | ISBN 978-0-9951240-1-1

This report evaluates the impact of Future Focus work obligations on the amount of time sole parents receiving a Domestic Purposes Benefit remained on the benefit.

The introduction of work obligations under Future Focus reduced the time affected clients spent on a benefit.

Impact of the 52-week unemployment benefit reapplication process update 2: technical report

2013 | ISBN 978-0-9951240-5-9

This report evaluates the impact of the unemployment benefit 52-week reapplication process. It analyses the amount of time affected clients spend on a benefit.

It found that the reapplication process reduced the time affected clients spend on a benefit by an average of 41 days over a 21 month follow up period.

Reapplication for unemployment benefit

2010 | ISBN 978-0-9951241-6-5

This report examines the impact that reapplying for the unemployment benefit has on jobseekers, using international evidence.

It also examines different methods of reapplication in other countries. Reapplication encourages jobseekers to leave a benefit before starting the required programme and helps jobseekers exit into employment.

The cost-effectiveness of reapplication is unknown.

The effects of work testing sole parent benefit recipients on employment outcomes

2010 | ISBN 978-0-9951242-4-0

This brief presents evidence on the impact of work testing on outcomes for sole parents and their children.

Work testing refers to a policy that requires benefit recipients who meet certain criteria to be available for, and seeking, work.

Incapacity benefits: part-time work assessments and recent international reforms

2010 | ISBN 978-0-9951242-3-3

This brief examines reforms in other countries that established part-time work assessments for Incapacity Benefit (IB) recipients, which were designed to assist them into work.

Reforms in the United Kingdom and Australia were effective at getting IB recipients into work and were cost-effective.

Future focus evidence brief: sanction regimes

2010 | ISBN 978-0-9951244-3-1

This report examines the impact that sanctions have on influencing jobseekers' job search behaviour in other countries.

Benefit sanctions are successful at reducing time on a benefit and helping beneficiaries obtain employment. The cost-effectiveness is unknown.

Facts & figures: work testing and sanctions


This report examines international evidence about work testing and sanctions. It found that: work testing and sanctions are used by many countries;

work testing increases employment and earnings as people are promoted to look for work; and sanctions and the threat of sanctions increase job search activity and make jobseekers more likely to take available jobs.

However, there are risks in sanctioning vulnerable people.

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