Could the JobKeeper payment end earlier than expected?

Could the JobKeeper payment end earlier than expected?

The Government’s $130-billion JobKeeper scheme is currently helping to keep more than 835,000 businesses afloat and around 5.5 million workers in a job.

It’s been a huge helping hand for Australia to get back on its feet following the trail of destruction the coronavirus has caused, however it’s looking like our Aussie government is considering switching up the JobKeeper payment, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison looking at options for the $1,500 a fortnight payment and whether it could be changed or ditched sooner than expected.

The scheme was announced earlier this year with intentions of giving employers an opportunity to keep staff on the payroll without going broke, and to allow a lasting relationship between employee and employer until businesses could afford to pay their staff. The payment is delivered to full-time, part-time and casual workers who were working for more than 12 months and since coming into play, has been imperative in ensuring five million Australias can feed themselves and their families.

While the payment is legislated to be paid out until September, alongside the JobSeeker measures, after the government unveiled its three-step plan to coming out of the coronavirus pandemic, the question of whether the payment is needed for that long is now been questioned.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference: “The JobKeeper and the JobSeeker program, as you note, have a legislative life which was set out over a six-month time frame.

“There’s a review built into JobKeeper to be done before the end of June. Treasury will be doing that, they’ve been doing a lot of work on that just over the last week or so.

“So, look, we’ll take that one step at a time. But I need to stress again that that was a temporary lifeline put in place to help Australians through the worst of this crisis. It comes at a very significant cost, not just to current but to future generations as well. And it will be there to get us, to meet that objective, but it’s not envisaged – never was – to be a longer-term arrangement.”

One option that’s being considered is to target the payment to businesses that are directly affected by the pandemic, rather than having the subsidy available to anyone who is eligible, while another option is to reassess the payment given to workers, taking in account how much they were earning previously and if they were full-time or part-time, and potentially scaling back payments for part-time workers.

The payment was always going to be temporary, however, Mr Morrison is implying it could be on a much shorter time frame than previously expected with the primary focus being on getting people back to work.

“Temporary and targeted, the new spending measures were not designed to go forever but to build a bridge to the recovery phase,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in the most recent budget update speech.

More on this as it develops.

You can read the full transcript of the press conference here.

Photo sourced from Jason Wood MP’s socials.