Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Workfare

The true benefit of the government's workfare plans- making the longterm unemployed to unpaid "community" work, is getting people back into the habit of work. As such it is probably going to be beneficial to most of the supposed victims in the long term.

The two concerns that I have is the amount of time being talked about for the work- 30 hours a week for 4 weeks is quite a lot when they are also supposed to be looking for work. I realise it is less than a typical full time work week but I think it is too long for people unused to working regular hours.

The second concern is that the work shouldn't be demeaning, getting a qualified engineer to spend all day is a bright yellow jacket picking litter is not going to restore his morale.

It is probably most beneficial to people who have never really worked rather than those who have lost their jobs.

4 comments:

Musgrave said...

“30 hours a week for 4 weeks is quite a lot when they are also supposed to be looking for work”. The actual amount of time the unemployed spend per week looking for work is ridiculously small: about 10 minutes a week. So they can perfectly well work 30 hours.

Also the majority of people changing jobs in the US according to a paper in the American Economic Review, find their new jobs while still working at their old jobs.

“the work shouldn't be demeaning, getting a qualified engineer to spend all day is a bright yellow jacket picking litter…” A qualified engineer is unlikely to have to workfare. It’s more likely to be the relatively unskilled.
Moreover, it’s not beneath my dignity to pick up litter from the road outside my house.

Michael Fowke said...

At one pound an hour it's going to be slavery.

James Higham said...

4 weeks? It was 13 weeks and was called New Deal.

Ross said...

Musgrave- I'd say that someone not in a job is almost by definition going to be less able at getting a job though.

"A qualified engineer is unlikely to have to workfare. It’s more likely to be the relatively unskilled."

In a recession a lot of atypical people become unemployed.

James- I'm not a fan of FDR.