The End of JobKeeper: What You Need to Know

JobKeeper: What might happen when it winds up?  So, JobKeeper is winding up on March 28. And that’s understandably causing some uncertainty, both for businesses paying it to their staff, and for employees on the other side.    So let’s break down what we know about JobKeeper, predictions for what might happen when it winds…

JobKeeper: What might happen when it winds up? 

So, JobKeeper is winding up on March 28. And that’s understandably causing some uncertainty, both for businesses paying it to their staff, and for employees on the other side. 
 
So let’s break down what we know about JobKeeper, predictions for what might happen when it winds up, and how the end of JobKeeper might affect both employers and employees. 

 

What we know about JobKeeper 

A whopping two-thirds of businesses across all sectors took a hit to revenue or cash flow during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in March 2020, the wage subsidy scheme known as JobKeeper was launched as part of the government’s $130 billion stimulus package.  
 
It was designed to keep businesses afloat and give them the ability to pay their staff during Covid-19 – and initially, businesses were offered $1500 per fortnight for eligible employees if they could demonstrate at least a 30 percent decline in turnover. 
 
JobKeeper was originally slated to end on 27 September 2020 but was extended for another six months until March 28, 2021. Payments were reduced to $1200 per fortnight from September 28, and from 4 of January, payments were reduced further: to $1000 per fortnight for eligible full-time employees, and $650 per fortnight for part-time employees. 
 
Businesses can still apply for JobKeeper until the scheme ends – here’s how to do it. There’s also lots of information about the scheme here for employers and employees. 

 

For employers paying JobKeeper – what happens when it ends? 

When the scheme winds down, it’s expected that most business owners will have recovered enough that they’re able to support themselves and are no longer eligible for the JobKeeper payments.  
 
If you cannot afford to take your employees back on a full-pre-pandemic workload once the JobKeeper scheme ends, you can try to negotiate reduced hours. However, if you can’t secure an agreement you may be left with no option but to let some staff members go.  
 
There are lots of JobKeeper tips and information for employers on the Fair Work website, but before making any decisions it’s best to seek legal advice on your situation and your options. 

 

And if you’re an employee earning JobKeeper… 

It’s expected that around 1.1 million people will be reliant on JobKeeper when the system ends – and if you’re one of them, what does that mean for you? 
 
Many economists say the nation’s recovery has been better than expected, however, the Secretary of the Treasury Department, Dr Steven Kennedy, recently told the ABC that he expected some people ‘would be let go’ when JobKeeper comes to an end. 
 
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was a bit more optimistic about the fate of job-seekers, reportedly saying that ‘as the economy continues to strengthen, it’ll pick up those who find themselves in a difficult spot’. 
 
If you suspect you might be without work come March 28, check out the additional support that may be available to you at the Services Australia website. If your employer has gone into liquidation or insolvency, you may be entitled to financial assistance via the Fair Entitlements Guarantee. And if you’re looking for work, you may find the previous posts we’ve written for job-seekers helpful, especially this one on job-seeking at any age. 

 

Conclusion 

The end of JobKeeper is sure to be a big adjustment for a lot of Australians who’ve relied on the wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic. 
 
And in the weeks before it comes to an end is a good time to look at where you’re at, talk to your employees (or employer) and get a sense of what might be in store come March 28.