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Home > News > 2020 > May > JobKeeper: knowing your rights

JobKeeper: knowing your rights

Wage_calculation.jpgIt is vital that our members working the the VET and ELICOS sector know their rights and are fully informed about the terms and conditions of the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy, following cases of misuse by some employers.

Since the scheme was announced, many training and ELICOS colleges have started to receive JobKeeper payments.

IEUA-QNT Growth Organiser Aaron Watson said it is important members working in the sector are fully aware of their entitlements and the obligations of employers under JobKeeper.

“Members should fill in the application forms with as much accurate detail as possible,” Aaron said.

“It is the employer who is required to submit the JobKeeper claim once the paperwork is completed and it is up to them to meet the reporting requirements which follow,” he said.

Key details and eligibility requirements

The JobKeeper scheme entitles eligible employees to a flat $1500 payment per fortnight before tax.

Employees who are eligible for JobKeeper payments include any employee working for an eligible business on or before 1 March 2020, including full-time and part-time staff in addition to contract or casual employees who have been with an employer for at least 12 months. 

Any employees who have been stood down since 1 March 2020 are also eligible for JobKeeper payments.

Businesses are eligible for JobKeeper if their turnover has fallen by 30 per cent or more, and 50 per cent or more for businesses with turnover exceeding $1 billion. 

Employees can only claim JobKeeper for one job, so employee with two employers must nominate a ‘primary employer’ and notify that employer if they have multiple jobs.

The application deadline for JobKeeper was recently extended until the 31 May 2020, so eligible employees who enrol for JobKeeper by the deadline will be able to claim for the fortnights ending in April and May. 

At this stage, the government will be reviewing JobKeeper in July and only view it as a ‘temporary arrangement.’

For further information about JobKeeper, the ACTU has published the following fact sheet.

Employer obligations 

Employers who choose to participate in the JobKeeper schemed must nominate all their eligible employees they are entitled to claim for. They cannot pick and which staff to nominate or exclude any eligible employees from being nominated. Although employers have the right not to participate, our union strongly encourages colleges to do so to keep teachers employed in our vital sector. 

Employers must pass on the full sum of $1500 per fortnight before tax to eligible employees, even if they ordinarily are paid less than that. For example, if you ordinarily earn $900 per fortnight, your employer cannot deduct the extra $600 provided by JobKeeper- they must pass the full $1500 on to every eligible employee.

JobKeeper payments will be backdated to 30 March 2020 and employers must have paid eligible employees for the first two fortnights payments by 8 March, - see ATO JobKeeper Payment information for more details.

Is your employer doing the right thing?

IEUA-ANT Growth Organiser Cherie Wills said there had been shameful reports of some employers using the JobKeeper payment and the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to cut labour costs. 

“This jeopardises the quality of education delivery for students and jeopardises further the job security for remaining teachers and in turn, the overall strength of the sector,” Cherie said.

Aaron said members in the VET and ELICOS sectors could rely on the support of our union to provide guidance and assist with any JobKeeper related queries they might have.

“Ultimately, we are here to support our members and will continue to advocate for them,” Aaron said. 

Members who suspect their employer is not doing the right thing or not meeting their JobKeeper obligations should contact our union in the first instance for advice.


Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.