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Pre-Employment Drug Testing For Job Seekers On Benefits

Published 19 Oct 2012

Hon PAULA BENNETT: “Today we announced that from July 2013 beneficiaries with full or part-time work obligations will be sanctioned if they refuse job opportunities that require a drug test, or if they fail a drug test….

There is no doubt that we have a problem with recreational drug-use in New Zealand. Ministry of Health research shows that around 20 percent of beneficiaries use drugs at least once a week, and that those receiving an unemployment benefit were around three times more likely to be regular cannabis users than those not on welfare, yet over 40 percent of the jobs we are asking beneficiaries to apply for require a drug test.

Requiring beneficiaries to be work-ready, available, and drug-free will certainly improve employment opportunities, giving greater confidence to employers to take them on. Many employers have publicly stated that they have problems recruiting people off benefits and into work because of their recreational drug-use. This is particularly prevalent in industries like forestry and construction.”

A growing number of EAL clients are using zero tolerance drug policies that are available from our web site. Health and safety obligations on Employers require an employer to use Drug policies to prevent accidents. By necessity these policies over reach into what people do after hours because drugs linger in the body and testing can not conclusively prove the time drugs were taken. It is therefore reasonable for an employer to have a zero tolerance policy in safety sensitive industries. If in doubt talk to us today.


Learn what your rights are and how to protect your business. See our Drug and Alcohol Testing System, (Free to Employer Support Package members).