JobKeeper Review: Scheme Encourages Sacking Casuals, Non-Resident Workers

A new discussion paper from The Australia Institute has shown that the JobKeeper scheme is encouraging businesses to dismiss ineligible employees, meaning casuals employed for less than a year and non-resident workers have been disproportionately affected by job losses in recent months.

Key findings:

  • Of those working for a business that received JobKeeper the number of eligible workers remained the same but the number of ineligible workers halved, going from 14% of the labour force to 7% by the end of May.
  • That suggests 723,700 people lost their jobs because they were ineligible workers in businesses that were attracting JobKeeper.

“Unfortunately, there is a strong incentive in JobKeeper to dismiss non-eligible workers,” said David Richardson, Senior Research Fellow at The Australia Institute.

“JobKeeper was designed in a way that deliberately excludes whole sections of the community, including some of the most economically vulnerable people in the country.

“Too many workers in highly casualised and insecure industries, such as arts and entertainment, hospitality, retail and accommodation have been intentionally overlooked by this scheme and now we are seeing the consequences in black and white.

“Almost three quarters of a million Australians have been let go from businesses that qualified for JobKeeper because they themselves were made ineligible for the scheme.

“At a time of unprecedented need and economic hardship, the government should be doing more to support those casual and non-resident workers who were often already struggling before the pandemic.”

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