JobMaker legislation passes

November 26, 2020 BY

Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O'Neil.

THE federal Coalition has successfully passed its JobMaker hiring credit through Parliament, and says the scheme will help get young people back into the workforce.

People over 35 are not eligible for the credit, and Corangamite Labor federal member Libby Coker says the Coalition should not be disadvantaging older workers.

To be paid to employers from February, JobMaker is a fixed amount of $200 per week for an eligible employee aged 16 to 29 years and $100 per week for an eligible employee aged 30 to 35 years.

To be eligible, the employee must have been receiving JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (Other) or Parenting Payment for at least one of the previous three months. Employees also need to be in paid work for at least 20 hours per week.

The hiring credit is not available to an employer who does not increase their headcount and payroll.

“This will help young people access job opportunities and reconnect them with the labour force as the economy recovers from the effects of the coronavirus,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

Ms Coker said older people already had a harder time finding employment than younger people.

“Once an older person becomes unemployed, it is much more difficult for them to find work.

“Of course, young Australians have been hit hard by the pandemic, but the Morrison Government should not be providing a financial barrier to hiring older workers. All Australians should be looked after.

“On top of that, thanks to the Treasury Department, we know the $4 billion hiring credit is only expected to create 45,000 new jobs. That’s despite the Treasurer claiming it would support 450,000 places.”

Labor, the Greens and minor parties in the Senate wanted to introduce safeguards to JobMaker to stop employers from sacking existing workers and then hiring new staff using the hiring credit. One Nation initially supported this amendment but then sided with the government, allowing the legislation to pass, a decision Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil described as “indefensible”.

“The Morrison Government’s response to this crisis has been to pump billions of tax payer dollars into businesses, often without adequate safeguards and protections for workers,” she said.

“By opposing these amendments, the government has made it clear that the aspects of the bill which will risk the jobs, hours and pay of working people are not bugs but features. This legislation is designed to allow businesses to bring in more insecure workers.

“This scheme does nothing to protect or support the jobs of workers over the age of 35.”

Mr Frydenberg said the legislative framework prohibited both employers and employees from entering into contrived schemes in order to gain access to or increase the amount payable.

“Existing rights and safeguards for employees under the Fair Work Act will continue to apply, including protection from unfair dismissal and the full range of general protections.”

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