Cafe PHoto
Cafe PHoto

Employers to be weaned off JobKeeper

BUSINESSES jolted out of their economic coma by relaxed restrictions face being weaned off JobKeeper over a number weeks before the legislated end date in September.

And some businesses - especially those that have healthy balance sheets - face being cut off altogether even if their revenue has dramatically plunged because of COVID-19.

While Scott Morrison has insisted it was too soon to pre-empt findings of a review into JobKeeper, The Courier-Mail understands senior Government tacticians have begun early conversations about possible significant recalibrations of the scheme.

It means businesses that have their tills ringing again to a sustainable level may have JobKeeper payments reduced over time.

It points to the potential for the subsidy to be more accurately targeted at how a business is faring financially, not just the industry it is in.

Under the scheme, employers are eligible for the subsidy if their business turnover fell by 30 per cent or more - if their turnover was less than $1 billion a year - or 50 per cent or more if their turnover was more than $1 billion a year.

The Government believes that after more restrictions are eased - especially when cafes and restaurants can have 100 people in a venue at any time - businesses could start to become self-efficient and no longer need to rely on the $130 billion scheme, which keeps employees connected to their employers.



And discussions have been held about how politically problematic it would be to wind back the more lucrative JobSeeker payment of $1100 a fortnight to the pre-coronavirus level, which was about $550 a fortnight for singles.


Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has warned that not all casual workers would have the same opportunities they did before the coronavirus.

Last week, the Prime Minister said JobKeeper - which is costing an eye-watering $20 billion a month - had "anomalies and issues" that needed to be addressed.

While the Government considers tweaking the scheme, Australians have given JobKeeper a big tick of approval, with many saying they would support it being extended after its current expiry date. Half the respondents to a survey conducted by personal finance app Humaniti said they would support an extension beyond September 28.


Owner of Hunter & Scout Graceville Trish Walker with head barista Grace Chau. Picture: Richard Walker
Owner of Hunter & Scout Graceville Trish Walker with head barista Grace Chau. Picture: Richard Walker



Hunter & Scout cafe owner Trish Walker said continued JobKeeper payments would be crucial for small businesses recovering from the economic blow of coronavirus.

"Everything else still piles up, the deferrals, the equipment leasing," she said.

"It's not like they turn the tap off and everyone's good again, there's a lot of catching up to do.

"And we are determined to catch up, but if the Government pulls JobKeeper it will make it that much harder."

Of her team of 30 staff, Ms Walker said only four were ­eligible for JobKeeper, but the payments meant she had been able to offer shifts to team members who otherwise would have been out of work.




Originally published as Employers to be weaned off JobKeeper