‘Poverty shock’ looms for newly unemployed single dad and mom

'Poverty shock' looms for newly unemployed single parents

From all stories, the additional $550 has been nicely used. The Herald reported final week concerning the transformative impact for single dad and mom who beforehand struggled to place recent meals on the desk and generally took dangers out of desperation corresponding to shoplifting or remaining with abusive companions. The web site 550 Reasons to Smile shares heartwarming tales about single dad and mom who’ve lastly been in a position to afford dental work or birthday presents for his or her baby.

I’ve crunched the numbers to attempt to see what the discount from $550 to $250 will imply for households.


For single dad and mom who have been on the complete pension of $790 a fortnight earlier than the pandemic, most will nonetheless be higher off than pre-COVID-19. That’s as a result of to obtain the complete pension, employment revenue is capped at $192.60 a fortnight plus $24.60 for every extra baby. You would wish three kids with a view to earn $250 a fortnight and preserve the complete pension.

But for single dad and mom who mixed a part-time job with a half pension earlier than the pandemic after which misplaced work due to COVID-19, this might be the second that plunges them into critical hardship. The motive is, as Jenny Davidson from the Council of Single Mothers and their Children says, as a result of they do not know the survival methods utilized by long-time pensioners “like finding the cheapest cuts of meat and not putting on the heater”.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures launched in August present the unemployment fee for lone dad and mom with kids underneath the age of 15 was 10 per cent in July, in contrast with the nationwide unemployment fee of seven.6 per cent. (The nationwide unemployment determine for August, launched final week, declined to six.eight per cent however the newest figures for lone dad and mom are but to be printed).

The unemployment fee for lone dad and mom is barely greater than earlier than the pandemic, whereas the workforce participation fee for this group declined from 68.5 per cent in February to 66.three per cent in July. This signifies many single dad and mom should not working however not actively on the lookout for a job due to the robust job market or modified caring duties.

The ABS says 4 out of 5 single-parent households are headed by ladies, although single-father households are the fastest-growing household sort. The Australian Council of Social Service and UNSW reported in May that greater than a 3rd of single moms and their kids reside in poverty.

My evaluation exhibits if a single father or mother of two kids underneath the age of eight misplaced a job with a gross wage of $1000 a fortnight, the lack of employment revenue was initially totally offset by elevated advantages and free childcare.

The particular person’s disposable revenue earlier than the pandemic was $880 a fortnight primarily based on the employment revenue, plus $488 half pension (Parenting Payment) and $704 Family Tax Benefit A and B and Rent Assistance, however after paying tax, hire and childcare charges.

Without the job however with full Parenting Payment and the particular pandemic provisions of Coronavirus Supplement and free childcare, the particular person’s disposable revenue rose to $992 a fortnight.

The mannequin assumes one baby in after-school care and one in lengthy daycare for 2 days per week every and weekly hire of $500 primarily based on the Sydney median. It assumes they aren’t eligible for JobKeeper and don’t obtain baby help.

However, the return of the Child Care Subsidy and charges on July 12 meant a 30 per cent decline in disposable revenue to $691 a fortnight in the event that they maintained childcare days. From September 25, the decrease complement will imply an additional 35 per cent decline in disposable revenue to $448 a fortnight.

Many dad and mom would attempt to preserve childcare preparations after dropping a job to allow them to search for work and settle for a job and for the confirmed schooling and socialisation advantages particularly for kids of preschool age.

Davidson is anticipating a rush on emergency aid programs. “A lot of families will go into sort of a poverty shock because they’ve not previously experienced it,” she says.


The decrease complement will damage folks like Fariha Masha from North Sydney, a single mom of two daughters, aged 5 and three.

She has misplaced work this yr, although not due to the pandemic. She decreased her hours firstly of the yr from full time to 24 hours per week as a result of her eldest daughter goes to a specialist faculty to cater for her autism, with no after-school care.

She has to pay full-time childcare charges for her youngest daughter as a result of she works day by day, throughout faculty hours, and the centre just lately elevated the value.

Her Parenting Payment is $88 a fortnight however the complement has made all of the distinction to her potential to pay the payments. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when it ends,” she says.

Most folks do not got down to turn out to be single dad and mom or unemployed throughout a pandemic, but when there’s something 2020 has taught us it is that life would not at all times work out the way in which you intend. The authorities reportedly has extra financial stimulus in thoughts; investing within the subsequent era by making certain extra households do not fall into poverty could be a superb place to begin.

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