JobKeeper for Employees

By Jane Tweedy, Founder, How to Job Search, 28 April 2020


JobKeeper is an Australian Business Stimulus Package intended to keep the Australian economy going through the Coronavirus pandemic. By providing JobKeeper, the Government hope to keep people employed with their existing employer. This is so they can bounce back easier once restrictions pass, but also to minimise the queues at Centrelink, and lower the unemployment rate.
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JobKeeper does not equal a holiday!

Although some people may be paid whilst stood down, the payment is intended to retain WORKERS. Therefore it is expected most employees will perform some of their original role. Though where this is not possible due to Public Health Order Closure or similar, employees may be issued following consultation JobKeeper Enabling Directions and have their hours (even days to some extent) changed, their location (including working from home) and their duties.


JobKeeper – consider your employer

You may think the Government is just giving out money so this puts no strain on the employer. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
Employers have to come up with the funds to pay you before they have any chance of getting money back from the Government. This funding can be for 6 weeks after you’re paid! So for a business with say 10 long-term casuals who normally earned say $600 a fortnight for their shifts, incurring a payroll cost of $6000 per fortnight, or $12,000 for two pay periods in a month, they will now have a payroll of $15,000 per fortnight, $30,000 per month AND may be doing this with no income coming in!  So before complaining please consider this is NOT easy on many small business employers.
What to do next? 

1. If you haven’t already, approach your permanent employer(s) (or casual employers if you only have casual roles) and see if they will be claiming JobKeeper. If they are they have opted-in they do need to offer it to you.

2. Complete your nomination form for your ONE choice of permanent or fixed-term contract employer, or casual if you have no permanent or fixed-term contract.

3. Consider any request to work for the business in a different capacity fairly, and don’t reasonably refuse. If this keeps the business going, it helps to keep you employed and keep you well away from the overloaded job market. 

4. If your employer is not eligible for JobKeeper, apply for JobSeeker if eligible. Asset testing is waived, and the partner income threshold has been raised to $79k and change.


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