Young workers now eligible for the $200 a fortnight JobMaker youth wage subsidy

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The $4 billion JobMaker hiring credit was one of the more controversial aspects of last month’s Budget.

Despite some political argy-bargy along the way, the legislation has now passed Parliament. So what does it mean for businesses and young workers?

How will it work?

The hiring credit provides eligible employers with $200 a week for each additional staff member they hire between the ages of 16 and 29 years old, if that person has been receiving the JobSeeker, Youth Allowance (Other) or Parenting Payment.

Workers between the ages of 30 and 35 will also attract a subsidy of $100 a week.

The money will be paid to the business, rather than the worker, and the staff will need to have worked an average of at least 20 hours per week over their employment period.

How many jobs will it create?

The Government estimates the hiring credit will support 450,000 jobs, although only around 10 per cent of those positions are expected to be created as a direct result of the program.

Some job seekers, including people over the age of 35 and those who do not qualify for income support, are worried it could make it more difficult for them to find work.

Others feel like they are already being discriminated against by employers advertising exclusively for workers who will qualify for the subsidy.

The Government has defended the program, arguing young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and need extra help.

Have any changes been made to the program?

No. Amendments support by Labor and members of the crossbench were passed in the Senate, with the help of the crossbench, aimed at making the scheme more transparent and preventing businesses from accessing the subsidy if they fire or cut the hours of another worker in order to obtain it.

The Government rejected those changes when the bill went back to House of Representatives, arguing they were unnecessary because the subsidy is not available to employers who fail to increase their headcount and payroll.

It also said existing safeguards in the Fair Work Act will continue to apply.

When the bill came back to the Senate it passed with the support of One Nation without the amendments.

How quickly can the subsidy be accessed?

The wage subsidy will apply to new workers hired from October 7 onwards, although employers will need to wait until February 2021 to claim the money back.

Some businesses wanted that process to be sped up, but the Government defended it as an integrity measure.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg previously said the Australian Taxation Office would update its website on how businesses can claim the credit once the legislation has passed.

By political reporter Jade Macmillan (Original ABC Article)