JobKeeper rules should be changed to allow eligible businesses to subsidise the wages of new employees, according to a prominent small business advocate, The New Daily reports.
With only two months to go until the scheme ends on March 28, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said the rule changes were needed to allow businesses to replace outgoing staff.
Ms Carnell said workers were resigning in search of higher-paid jobs after a second reduction in the rate of JobKeeper forced many small businesses to cut their hours and wages.
“JobKeeper was reduced again on 4 January, 2021, and with some eligible businesses unable to afford to top up wages, they are having to reduce the hours of their staff,” she said.
“It means staff are resigning to go to jobs offering more hours and pay.”
As a result, many businesses are understaffed and unable to afford new workers under current JobKeeper rules, which prevent businesses from claiming the payment for staff employed after July 1, Ms Carnell said.
She told The New Daily the current rules were affecting businesses that were busy but making little money, such as travel agents processing refund requests and cinemas recovering from various restrictions.
“They’re stuck between an absolute rock and a hard place,” Ms Carnell said.
Although she acknowledged that JobKeeper shouldn’t be given to businesses with no long-term future, Ms Carnell said the federal government should offer ongoing support to viable businesses in industries affected by ongoing restrictions, such as tourism and events.Many of these companies have a future beyond the pandemic, but need more support to survive the next few months, she said.
JobKeeper must be expanded to include new employees: Ombudsman (The New Daily)