More than 83,000 casual jobs alone will be lost as Stage Four lockdowns sweep across Victoria and short-term casual jobs are excluded from the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
According to analysis of 2019 ABS data by the Greens, there are 83,100 casual workers in the embattled state who will find themselves unemployed as a result of the shutdown, yet won’t qualify for JobKeeper.
In order for a business to qualify for the scheme, they will have to prove a decline in turnover of at least 30 per cent, or 50 per cent if the business turns over more than $1 billion a year. Only casual workers who have been employed for more than 12 months are eligible.
Of the 83,100 casual workers, 45,900 are retail workers, 20,500 are manufacturing workers and 16,700 are construction workers.
Greens leader Adam Bandt said these job losses were happening to some of Victoria’s hardest-hit industries and called for the wage subsidy scheme to be extended to more workers.
“We said from the outset that all casuals should be included in JobKeeper. Now, as the pandemic takes hold for a second time, tens of thousands of workers are paying the price for the Liberals' refusal to extend the scheme,” he said.
“These workers have battled through insecure pay, a lack of paid sick leave, and now with many of their employers closing their doors, they’ll be forced out of paid work.”
Bandt called on the government to release modelling to show how many workers would be impacted by Victoria’s lockdown.
“While the state government is responding to the crisis by implementing tougher restrictions as the pandemic worsens, Scott Morrison is forcing workers across the country in a one-size-fits all JobKeeper scheme,” he said.
“Josh Frydenberg can amend the JobKeeper scheme with the stroke of a pen, so unless he takes action soon, he is set to be haunted by every lost job and impacted livelihood.”
Major employers such as Wesfarmers have also flagged that their workers don’t qualify for the JobKeeper scheme.
Rob Scott, the managing director of Wesfarmers, the parent company of Kmart, Officeworks, Target and Bunnings, said he was concerned there would be “quite a number” of staff that would have to be stood down, encompassing casual and permanent staff.
“After that, team members would need to look at what government subsidies are available,” he told ABC.
“We will be doing whatever we can to keep particularly permanent members on board.”
He added that he hoped to keep “as many permanent team members engaged and employed as possible”.
“But at the moment, we just can’t guarantee that.”
The strict Stage Four lockdown in Victoria sees only essential stores open, and Premier Dan Andrews warned the shutdown would stand down 250,000 Victorians.
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