The extent of JobSeeker rort: ‘Busy until September’
BOSSES are finding themselves competing with the inflated JobSeeker welfare payments as workers knock back shifts, with at least one Queensland wag telling their boss they won't be back to work until late September when the tap turns off.
Industry groups have reported that some businesses are finding it difficult to get staff to come back as the economy slowly restarts, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison also highlighting the issue as some workers prefer to stay on the $1115 a fortnight payment.
It's a small number of casual workers, particularly in tourism, restaurant, cafe and other hospitality jobs who are said to have turned their noses up at returning to work.
Mr Morrison gave the strongest indication yet JobSeeker will be substantially cut back after the September 24 end date for the coronavirus supplement, as the Government considers the next phase of recovery.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland senior industrial relations specialist Robert Hall-Bowman said businesses were reporting instances of casuals refusing shifts.
"Some are saying they won't be available for a lengthy period of time. One said until the end of September, in the most extreme example," he said.
"There's been examples we have been given where it's difficult to find staff to come back, with particularly the casual work force."
Mr Hall-Bowman said it was only a small number of incidents but called for greater differences between JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment amounts.
JobSeeker pays $1115 a fortnight, up from $565, while JobKeeper is $1500 a fortnight.
Restaurant and Catering Association boss Wes Lambert confirmed there were reports of some people turning down work to stay on JobSeeker, though it was only a small number.
"Members of the industry have let us know some of their employees have chosen to stay on JobSeeker, rather than JobKeeper," he said.
Mr Morrison confirmed there would by a "next phase" of JobKeeper wage subsidies, likely taking in industries including tourism, aviation and hospitality.
But he said he would not be rushed into making a decision as JobKeeper cost the budget $10 billion a month.
"When we make a decision about the next phase, and there will be a next phase of this, we have to get it right," he said.
He said they had to be more careful with the JobSeeker dole payment, saying it could get in the way of getting people back into work if left at its current level.
"What we have to be worried about now is we can't allow the JobSeeker payment to become an impediment to people going out and doing work," he said.
"We are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses and even large businesses where some of them are finding it hard to get people to take the shifts back because they're on these higher level payments."
There are about 1.7 million Australians on JobSeeker payments, which have doubled during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Originally published as The extent of JobSeeker rort: 'Busy until September'