The federal government’s JobKeeper program has been a real lifeline for colleges and employees in the sector, allowing employees to maintain the employment relationship with their employer, even if there is no work to be done.
It is by now common for ELICOS and other teachers to be stood down – with dwindling student numbers, there is less and less teaching to be done – with their only income the JobKeeper payment of $1500 per fortnight. Nevertheless, the links are maintained for the time being.
From late September, there will be some changes to JobKeeper, as the federal government looks to begin phasing out the program. To start with, employers must requalify for the program, by demonstrating (via tougher measures) the requisite loss of revenue in October, and again in January.
The amount payable to employees will start to decline, reducing to $1200 per fortnight from October, then to $1000 per fortnight from January. There will also be a new part-time rate of $650 per fortnight from October, reducing to $550 per fortnight from January. The program is scheduled to cease in March 2021.
There is no doubt the program has been of real assistance to employees in the private college sector, and its continuance beyond the original scheduled end point of September is to be welcomed. However, the falling levels of support will mean most recipients lose out. This is of particular concern in an industry that relies on international students, and is thus hamstrung by government restrictions.
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