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Farewell JobKeeper, Hello JobKiller (Read 160 times)
whiteknight
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Farewell JobKeeper, Hello JobKiller
Sep 19th, 2021 at 8:16am
 
Farewell JobKeeper, hello JobKiller: how bosses and workers are encouraged to part ways
Sydney Morning Herald
September 17, 2021


The employment bloodbath revealed in Thursday’s Labour Force figures delivers a damning verdict on the government job support programs that replaced JobKeeper. The data reveals the massive scale of lost jobs, shifts and gigs in the states affected by lockdowns.

In total, a staggering 12 per cent of all hours of work has been lost across the NSW economy since May. That is a larger hit than we suffered at the start of the pandemic last year. It is also the largest fall in hours worked in any three-month period since modern records began 40 years ago.

Deserted workplaces in COVID times: many employees are choosing not to go to work and instead take government payments, and employers can benefit with a lower wages bill.


In Victoria, hours worked fell by 3 per cent in August. This is a big drop given that the data only covers the first two weeks of August when the sixth Victorian lockdown had barely begun.

It’s worth remembering that compared with last year, this lockdown is on track to deliver a smaller drop in GDP, a smaller fall in consumer spending, and a much smaller hit to business confidence. So how have we managed to lose more jobs in a less severe economic crisis? The answer is that this time we had a different – and much less successful – policy response.

Last time, workers were protected by JobKeeper. This year, under pressure to address the waste in the program, the Commonwealth government replaced JobKeeper with a Disaster Payment for individuals and a patchwork quilt of support programs for businesses delivered in partnership with the states.


JobKeeper
Australians want JobKeeper overpayments given back to taxpayers
These programs have been beset by problems including constant changes, confusing eligibility requirements and slow rollout of support.

But the crucial flaw in the new programs is that they have not replicated the most important feature of JobKeeper. As the Prime Minister himself said, the main benefit of JobKeeper was it maintained “the connection between the employer and the employee and keep[s] people in their jobs even though the business they work for may go into hibernation”.

The new Disaster Payments are delivered directly to individuals rather than being channelled through employers. This dramatically changes the relationship between businesses and their workers.



Under JobKeeper, a business was well advised to keep its employees coming to work as much as possible. After all, their wages were being paid by the government, so why not? But under the new programs, the same business would be better off reducing its wages bill by encouraging workers to stay home and apply for disaster payments. The programs have loose requirements to maintain employee headcounts, but that doesn’t mean businesses can’t cut shifts.

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Locked down and locked out of business ... JobKeeper could have had a second coming.


The Labour Force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests this is precisely what is happening. Employers have been cutting workers’ hours at twice the rate they have been cutting jobs.

The new programs also change the game for workers. Under JobKeeper they had to continue to attend work. But now they qualify for the Disaster Payments more readily if they stay at home.

The August data shows many people have decided they are better off not working. During this lockdown more than 230,000 people stopped seeking work in NSW – the largest labour force exodus in decades.

The fall in the number of people looking for work artificially improved the national unemployment rate which fell to 4.5 per cent – its lowest level since 2008. But this is merely the product of weak employer demand and discouraged workers taking themselves out of the labour force.


Out of work
NSW disaster payment recipients top 1 million as men are getting the lion’s share
That’s the critical difference between JobKeeper and the programs that have replaced it. JobKeeper encouraged the firms and workers to stick together. The new programs encourage them to go their separate ways.

The impact of the new programs has been particularly severe for women. In the past three months, women in NSW were 80 per cent more likely than men to lose their job. In the past month in Victoria, twice as many women were twice as likely to lose their jobs.

Yet data shows that government support is disproportionately going to men. Men are 50 per cent more likely to be receiving a government payment, despite bearing less of the employment hit.

Young people have also been badly affected. The number of young people in jobs fell by 19 per cent in the past three months in NSW.
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whiteknight
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Re: Farewell JobKeeper, Hello JobKiller
Reply #1 - Sep 19th, 2021 at 8:42am
 
Australians have lost 66 million hours of work in the month of August
16 September 2021
ACTU.
Australians have lost 66 million hours of work in the month of August
146,000 workers lost their jobs, and those still in jobs have lost 66 million hours of employment in the month of August alone. Youth unemployment increased to 10.7%, and underemployment also rose to 9.3%, according to data released this morning by the ABS.

This data reflects the reality of sweeping lockdowns across the country without the JobKeeper wage subsidy in place to keep working people connected to their jobs, with NSW the hardest hit.

Unions are urging the Morrison Government to bring in JobKeeper 2 – available for all workers and with safeguards to prevent the business rorts we saw last year –  to give Australian workers, and the small businesses that employ them, a safety net. Current Covid disaster payment schemes are not sufficient or fit-for-purpose, and do not provide a crucial connection for the worker to their employer.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil,

“The current Covid disaster payment system does not work for a crisis like this. Limiting eligibility to people who live or work in a hotspot doesn’t take into account that jobs and industries across the whole country are affected now and will be affected for a long time into the future.

“There is no more compelling reason to bring in JobKeeper 2 than seeing a loss of so many hours worked and jobs in one month alone. And thanks to the shambolic vaccine rollout, it could likely get worse before it gets better.

“Unions have been warning the Morrison Government for months; bring in JobKeeper 2 – available to all workers and with stronger safeguards to prevent the business rorts we saw last year - or Australia’s insecure job crisis will worsen.

“With over 160,000 people dropping out of the labour force and 66 million hours of work lost, there is an urgent need for a recovery plan for areas, workers and sectors hit hard
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Ye Grappler
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Re: Farewell JobKeeper, Hello JobKiller
Reply #2 - Sep 19th, 2021 at 11:58am
 
You had me until you got on to the 'poor women' BS... many such PREFER and CHOOSE to have a part-time job that suits them, so if their job fails the category test, who is to blame?

Strange reasoning here - if they lose that job they go on unemployment - if they stay but stay at home they get the disaster payment... why would there be any difference between men and women?

This isn't another one of those fanciful made-up women's issues, is it?

Did you know that uterine cancer affects more women than men? That women's mental health is more affected by boredom when they stay home with the kids?  That men are more likely to get a job in a heavy industry than a woman?

Buggar - now if they'd just equal out all the jobs in teaching, nursing and public service these days - pretty much the only games left in town - things would be rosy, eh, and the women could go to work lugging timber and steel on construction sites and taking the risks of scaffold collapse....
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“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
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