Minister welcomes Bill to remove Subsequent Child Policy

Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the Social Security (Subsequent Child Policy Removal) Amendment Bill in the House this evening.

“Tonight’s first reading is another step on the way to removing excessive sanctions and obligations for people receiving a Main Benefit,” says Carmel Sepuloni.

“Once passed it will fulfil a key promise in our election manifesto and builds on our removal of the section 192 sanction which punished parents for not naming the other parent of their child.

“Removing the Subsequent Child Policy will ensure parents are not penalised for having an additional child while on a benefit. The current policy unfairly punishes children who would benefit from having their mother at home during their development years.

“We know that people receiving a Main Benefit often want to work. But we also recognise that forcing a parent to seek employment while they are caring for very young children, reduces flexibility for them to spend valuable time with their children, during the first 1000 days of their life.

“Tonight’s first reading is another step towards reforming our Welfare system and ensuring all people receiving income support are treated with dignity and respect,” says Carmel Sepuloni.

Once the Bill is passed a transitional period of 28 days will be in place either side of the policy removal date. This transition period covers new Benefit applications and changes in client circumstances, and will ensure a streamlined process for affected clients.

Clients who are affected by the policy’s removal will be contacted by the Ministry of Social Development closer to the time.