Newstart work rules under review

The federal government is considering relaxing the rules restricting how much money single parents can earn while receiving welfare payments.

About 84,000 single parents were moved from the single parent payment to the unemployment payment, Newstart, in January as a cost-saving measure.

Employment Minister Bill Shorten told ABC television on Monday that he sympathised with those affected by the changes, saying he thought it would be ''very difficult'' to survive on Newstart.

The change - which will save the government $728 million over four years - represented a drop in income for parents of between $60 and $100 a week.

The government has been criticised by welfare groups and the Greens because the rules for Newstart allow people to do fewer hours of paid work before their welfare payments are reduced.

About two-thirds of single parents affected by the changes found they had to work less once they were moved onto Newstart to avoid having their payments reduced.

It is understood there is broad support within the government for changing the number of hours that can be worked.

The story Newstart work rules under review first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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