Politics

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Changes To JobKeeper

Prepare for payments to be slashed.

The federal government has announced changes to their welfare programs, and if you’re a casual or part-time worker…it’s not great news.

If you’re out of work it’s also not great news, with the government bringing back mutual obligation requirements for people on JobSeeker — which means you’ll need to prove you’re looking for work.

The JobKeeper wage subsidy and the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement were both due to end in September, but have been extended (albeit at a much less generous rate). From September JobKeeper will fall from $1500 to $1200 a fortnight, and then $1,000 for the first three months of 2021. However, if you work fewer than 20 hours a week you’ll be entitled to $750 a fortnight from September, and then $650 until March next year.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the two-tiered system will mean people will receive a payment closer to their pre-pandemic income.

“It was a conscious decision to introduce the flat $1,500 payment as it enabled us to get money to people who needed it most as fast as possible,” he said. “However, one of the consequences of the flat payment equivalent to minimum wage was that some recipients were receiving more under JobKeeper than they were pre-COVID. The two-tiered payment better reflects the pre-COVID income of these recipients.”

According to the Treasury, 30 percent of the private sector had been supported by JobKeeper. It also found 47.1 percent of recipients were women, despite only making up 44.9 percent of the workforce.

What About JobSeeker?

If you’re on JobSeeker your payment is also going to fall a few hundred dollars come September. The government has extended the coronavirus supplement until December 31, but cut the amount from $550 a fortnight (which had effectively doubled the dole rate) to $250. This means that after September 25 people’s payments will drop from about $1,100 to $800 a fortnight.

Meanwhile, the income-free threshold for JobSeeker and Youth Allowance will be increased to $300 a fortnight from September 25.

They’re also reintroducing mutual obligations, which means people will have to connect to employment services to undertake four job searches a month from August 4. If someone is offered a job they have an obligation to take it, otherwise penalties apply. Recipients will have to face a higher job search rate come September, and they’ll also be reintroducing an asset test and a partner income test.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows there are 992,000 unemployed Australians. The latest data on job vacancies shows there are around 129,000 job vacancies.

Last week the Treasurer said he expected out jobless rate to continue to rise. In summary: good luck out there folks.