Man working

Benefit Sanctions - June 2018 quarter

A sanction is a penalty imposed on a person’s benefit for failure to fulfill their work obligations.

Sanctions can affect benefit recipients in a number of ways depending on their circumstances and the number of times they have had a sanction imposed over the last 12 months. There are three types of sanctions: graduated (ie percentage reduction in benefit amount), suspended and cancelled. Not everyone who fails their obligations gets sanctioned; if benefit recipients recomply or provide additional information, their failure to fulfill their obligations can be withdrawn.

Sanctions data is reported in two different ways to show different aspects of the data: flow data and point-in-time data.

Flow data is the sum of all sanction events that occur in the quarter (eg for the June quarter, it is the sum of all sanction events in April, May and June). This data contains graduated, suspended and cancelled sanctions imposed due to the failure to fulfill work obligations.

Point-in-time data is the number of sanctions imposed at a point in time due to the failure to fulfill work obligations (eg for June, it is the number of sanctions as at 30 June). Only graduated sanctions can be reported using point-in-time data.

Two-year trend for all sanctions (flow data)

The total number of benefit sanctions imposed due to the failure to fulfill work obligations decreased by 21.8 percent in the June 2018 quarter compared to the June 2017 quarter (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Quarterly benefit sanctions numbers, June 2016 to June 2018

Figure 1: Quarterly benefit sanctions numbers, June 2016 to June 2018

By the end of the June 2018 quarter, the number of sanctions issued for failing to attend arranged appointment(s) was down by 1,988 (or a 20 percent decrease) compared to the June 2017 quarter. The number of sanctions issued because of failing to participate in work decreased by 583 (a 32.4 percent decrease), and the number of sanctions issued due to clients’ failure to prepare for work was also down by 788 (decrease of 21 percent) (Figure 2).

Note that not everyone who fails their obligations gets penalized. If a benefit recipient recomplies or provides additional information, the failure to fulfill their obligation can be withdrawn.

Figure 2: Quarterly benefit sanctions reasons, June 2016 to June 2018

Figure 2: Quarterly benefit sanctions reasons, June 2016 to June 2018

Annual comparison – all sanctions (flow data)

June 2017 quarter

June 2018 quarter

Annual change

Total number of sanctions

15,619 12,214 21.8 percent decrease

Number of sanctions imposed on Jobseeker Support recipients

12,076 10,002 17.2 percent decrease

Number of sanctions imposed on Sole Parent Support recipients

3,414 2,083 39.0 percent decrease

Number of graduated sanctions

12,865 9,864 23.3 percent decrease

Number of suspended/cancelled sanctions

2,754 2,350 14.7 percent decrease

Annual comparison – graduated sanctions (point-in-time data)

As at 30 June 2017

As at 30 June 2018

Annual change

Number of work-tested benefit recipients with graduated sanctions

2,160 1,601 25.9 percent decrease

Number of benefit recipients with work obligations

196,942 197,925 0.5 percent increase

Percentage of work-tested benefit recipients with graduated sanctions

1.1% 0.8% 0.3 percentage point decrease

Note 1: A small number of non-work tested benefit recipients may be included in point-in-time data because they had a sanction on a previous benefit but have since transferred to a benefit which is not work-tested.