Supporting the independent education community

Further Advice for ELICOS Members re JobKeeper

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused great disruption to the ELICOS sector, and many colleges have been hovering on the brink. The federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy is therefore a highly welcome development for members in the industry.

 

Many members have contacted the IEU with concerns about how it might work in their college.

 

JobKeeper is a wage subsidy worth $1500 per fortnight paid to employers, who must then pass the payment in full on to eligible employees. This $1500 is a flat payment, and so even if you received less than this normally, you should still get the full $1500.

 

Eligible employees include:

• Ongoing employees (both full time and part time)

• Sessional employees still employed by their college on 1 March

• Extended casual employees with regular systematic employment for at least 12 months prior to 1 March

• It doesn’t necessarily matter if the employee was actively employed on 1 March, so long as they were still ‘on the books’.

 

Your college will ask you to sign a form, which is basically advising the government that the college is your primary employer (you can only claim it from one employer). There is almost certainly no problem with you signing this form but check with your union if you have any concerns.

 

Members should be aware, however, that by signing the form, they are agreeing to all of the terms of JobKeeper, including that employers can make adjustments to hours (ie reduce them). This shouldn’t be a big issue in most colleges, but members might wish to get assurances from their employer before signing.

 

Some members have raised concerns that their college might not pass on the full value of the subsidy, or otherwise retain the payment for themselves. There are heavy civil penalties for employers who do this, and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which has oversight of the program, has a tip off page.

 

(https://www.ato.gov.au/General/Gen/Making-a-tip-off/ ), and your union is able to run disputes around this via the relevant provisions of the Fair Work Act. If you do not receive the full $1500 (before tax), please let your union know asap.

 

More general advice about JobKeeper can be found here: https://www.ieu.asn.au/newspublications/news/2020/04/ieu-preliminary-jobkeeper-guidance