Casual workers to get major windfall under JobKeeper plan

 

Casual workers could receive a major financial windfall under the new $130 billion JobKeeper package.

The Federal Government will introduce key changes to its draft Fair Work Act legislation, after discussions between the Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter and Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Sally McManus.

Senior government sources told The Australian the legislation would be finalised as early as today.

The changes are aimed at ­addressing union concerns with the $1500 fortnightly JobKeeper payments, which the government will make to businesses suffering a major drop in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,The Australian reports.

 

Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter. Picture: AAP
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter. Picture: AAP

It would impact up to one million casual workers ­including high school and university students.

Speaking on Today, shadow minister for government services Bill Shorten said Labor would push for casual workers to be included in the scheme.

"There is still one outstanding issue, that is for casuals who have worked for less than 12 months for a particular employer," Mr Shorten said.

"There are a lot of people from delivery trucks to construction to the entertainment industry, your own people, where they don't work necessarily for the same employer or have one continuous job for 12 months … It would be good if we did something for those casuals because they are the backbone of our workforce."

 

‘Backbone of our workforce.’ Bill Shorten is calling on casual workers to be backed under the JobKeeper scheme. Picture: AAP
‘Backbone of our workforce.’ Bill Shorten is calling on casual workers to be backed under the JobKeeper scheme. Picture: AAP

Under the JobKeeper program, coronavirus-hit businesses will receive a $1500 fortnightly payment to pass on to each employee for six months.

Six million workers are expected to receive the subsidies. Unions and Labor are concerned 1.1 million casual workers will miss out because of the eligibility criteria.

Mr Porter was under pressure from unions and Labor to extend the $130 billion program to more casual workers. But he was digging in to ensure the payment is only available to workers with a 12-month link to a single employer.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions had suggested casuals should get the payments if they had a reasonable expectation of ongoing work were it not for the virus.

Mr Porter dismissed that as not workable. "There has to be a line drawn," he said yesterday.

 

Originally published as JobKeeper to help Aussie casuals



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