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Subsidise 80% of workers' pay: ACTU

This story comes via Workplace Express.

The ACTU has demanded the Morrison Government immediately provide a "coronavirus wage" of up to 80% of an employee's pay. 

 

ACTU secretary Sally McManus today wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison arguing for UK-style wage subsidies, so that hard-hit employers can save jobs and avoid an "economic catastrophe", rather than implement mass standdowns as announced by both Qantas and Virgin Australia (see related articles here and here). 

 

"The union movement cannot continue to watch working Australians, their livelihoods and communities being decimated," McManus said. 

 

"This will give immediate certainty to both business and working people. 

 

"It will keep people in employment now and into the future. 

 

"There is no time to waste." 

 

McManus said a wage subsidy could be simply understood and administered through existing ATO arrangements. 

 

"This is a moment of truth for the Morrison Government and the good faith of ordinary Australians is being tested like never before." 

 

"Tens of thousands of Australian workers are dealing with the reality of losing their jobs and the prospect of a major health and economic meltdown. 

 

"A guaranteed wage subsidy is the support Australian workers are demanding from their government." 

 

The Morrison Government has a choice, said McManus. 

 

"It can be decisive like Boris Johnson has been in the UK, or it can condemn Australian workers to the misery of job queues and the threat of inter-generational poverty not seen since the great depression." 

 

"The future of Australian families will be decided right here and now. 

 

Morrison on Monday said the Treasury had recommended against UK-style wage subsidies, which would require new delivery systems (see Related Article). 

 

The government has instead opted for a "supercharged" safety net that will double payments to the unemployed and those who lose their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic (see Related Article). 

 

The government's $66 billion package looks to support households – including casuals, sole-traders and retirees – along with funding for SMEs to stay open and keep paying their employees. 

 

It also opens the way for individuals to get early access to $10,000 in superannuation this financial year and the same amount in the 2020-21.