Youth subsidy JobMaker claiming the jobs of older Australians

Youth employment subsidy may cause significant collateral damage.

People waiting for job interview in office

Older workers are already losing their jobs as a result of the federal government’s JobMaker initiative, according to Ian Yates, chief executive of the Council on the Ageing (COTA).

“We are very worried,” he said. “Already we've seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Mr Yates said COTA, an advocate for the rights of older Australians, had heard from “several” mature-aged workers being given notice as their bosses looked to take advantage of the JobMaker subsidy, introduced during the recent federal budget to counter youth unemployment.

JobMaker aims to create 450,000 jobs for young people, who’ve been four times more likely to lose their jobs or have their hours cut during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers $200 a week for businesses to hire workers under the age of 30, who are currently on JobSeeker, receiving a Youth Allowance or the Parenting Payment for at least 20 hours per week. The subsidy is $100 a week for workers aged 30 to 35. All businesses, except for the major banks, can access the scheme, which will be available for up to a year.

However, the Coalition claim that the subsidy would create 450,000 jobs has been challenged by Treasury, which asserts that just 45,000 “genuinely additional” jobs would be created.

The Guardian reports: "Treasury officials revealed the conservative estimated benefit of the JobMaker hiring credit on Monday, ahead of a snap inquiry likely to spark calls to legislate more safeguards to the program.”

When the subsidy was proposed, ACTU Australian Council of Trade Unions president Michele O’Neil said JobMaker had many flaws that “hadn’t been thought through”.

Ms O’Neill was concerned that older workers would be replaced by several younger ones.

“You’ve increased overall headcount and payroll, but replaced older workers with younger ones,” she told The New Daily.

“The employer will get double the wage subsidy if they employ two workers for 20 hours a week than if it was one for 40 hours. There’s no requirement for secure jobs or full-time jobs. They could hire them for a short period and replace them with another worker.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt wanted to see details of the scheme, concerned it might worsen the unemployment crisis. And Labor leader Anthony Albanese was concerned 928,000 jobless people aged over 35 would be disadvantaged.

Mr Yates sought a subsidy for older workers.

“Many mature-aged workers who are out of work due to the pandemic are facing disastrous personal circumstances. The Liquid Assets Waiting Period means they must spend their savings before they can get help: savings they will need in retirement,” Mr Yates told senior.com.au.

“Australia needs urgent action, or we'll push a huge group, mostly women, into poverty in old age.”

Mr Yates supported the scheme but said mature and older workers were “equally vulnerable”.

He said people aged 18 to 24 and over-55s were most in need, and older people took twice as long to get a job.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the headcount and payroll of businesses needed to be higher after they hired people via JobMaker. He said this “integrity test” would ensure older workers were not exploited.

However, there is already rampant age discrimination in employment, said Professor Marian Baird, who heads work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney.

Prof. Baird told the ABC that JobMaker provided an incentive for employers to “cherry-pick people of a certain age”.

She feared it could encourage employers to “abandon older people in the labour market”.

“So, you could substitute someone who is 40 with someone who is 22.”

Prof. Baird said it was “a recipe for casualisation” because employers were only required to hire people for an average of 20 hours a week over a quarter to qualify for the subsidy.

“Someone could work 30 or 40 hours a week, none the next,” she said. “There's no indication jobs have to be permanent or ongoing.”

Professor Andrew Stewart, an employment law specialist at the University of Adelaide, said the scheme would be difficult to police.

Anglicare Australia's annual Jobs Availability Snapshot found that disadvantaged jobseekers, including older workers, were competing with more people for fewer jobs.

This year, eight jobseekers are competing for each entry-level job. If all jobseekers are included, there are 106 jobseekers for each entry-level job.

There are also 1.63 million under-employed Australians who could also be competing for these jobs.

“If we're serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren't there,” said Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers.

Have you experienced ageism in the workforce? Do you think JobMaker will disadvantage older workers?

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    COMMENTS

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    KSS
    27th Oct 2020
    4:16pm
    So its 'over 35's'that are mature age workers now!
    tobymyers
    27th Oct 2020
    4:20pm
    Makes you wonder where these idiots we have for a government come up with the idea of making to pension age rise to 70 thinking older Australians would be employed.

    In fact it was a blatant capitalist act against the elderly trying to save a quid.

    There is no evidence to support the notion that employers would employ older Australians.
    The LNP are so out of touch with reality I think they are all on magic mushrooms .

    Of course they must think we are all stupid coming up with this idea to push older Australians onto a lower benefit.
    Whoever votes for this lot needs to give themselves a right uppercut.
    Mariner
    27th Oct 2020
    5:33pm
    70 is still a dream, tobymyers. It was Mr Rudd and the beloved ALP who definitely moved to the age of 67 and it would probably be them again to shift it to 70. Up to now the only raising of the pension age has been the ALP, whether you like the fact or not. I know it is popular to bash the one side all the time. Have been a union member for most of my life but I still look at the issues.
    Fedup
    27th Oct 2020
    7:49pm
    It was Abbott and Hockey who wanted to raise the pension age to 70. Labor continually fought against it.
    Farside
    28th Oct 2020
    9:40am
    an increase in pension age to 70 is inevitable so long as average expected lifespan increases but it's not something readers on YLC should be concerned.
    panos
    27th Oct 2020
    4:40pm
    Of course this is coming in indeed for the bosses to make more profit for themselves to take advantage of any govt hand out or should I say PAYE taxpayer monies.

    After all they have the shifty accountants so they pay no tax or very little.

    As I said before class warfare is alive and well...
    Life experience
    27th Oct 2020
    4:41pm
    Should pay higher jobseeker payments to over 55’s. It’s the least they can do after ruining chances of older people getting a job. And they need to reduce the retirement age. As there are not enough jobs around now to work to 70.
    Fedup
    27th Oct 2020
    4:44pm
    It was obvious as soon as it was announced that this would happen. The Libs don’t care about anything other than making a headline / announcement.

    It not only discriminates against ‘older’ workers (over 35), it is also unfair to people under 35 who are employed and want to change jobs. So it’s unfair to most of the workforce.
    ex PS
    30th Oct 2020
    11:08am
    That's what we get for putting the country in the hands of a Marketing Executive.
    All mouth and no application.
    henkay
    27th Oct 2020
    4:47pm
    this is proof that Scott Morrison must be voted out at the next Federal Election and that he and his friends are untrustworthy liars and need to be sent a message we are angry at your conduct towards older workers remember in the forthcoming State Election in QLD Deb Frecklington is not fit to govern remember older Australians deserve better and the lib/nats are unfit to govern whether it is at state or federal level
    Anonymous
    27th Oct 2020
    5:45pm
    Surely you don't seriously think Labor would do better? Both parties comprise politicians. That's the problem. And politicians are self-serving, selfish, egotistical, closed-minded, and focused on staying in power - therefore pleasing their mates, to the detriment of the rest of us. Neither party is better than the other, sadly.
    tobymyers
    27th Oct 2020
    7:02pm
    Youngagain your dreaming.Here you are trying to justify why you voted LNP well you can see what they have done but as for Labor your only guessing ,because we don't actually know until we read their policies and ogh hell !!! they are more socialist , surprise surprise.
    Anyway, you are right on one thing POliticians are a slimy bunch right up there with car salesman and real estate agents and of course they only want to protect their arses and get that big pay day .
    But you know what ?
    We the voter can see to it that there is uncertainty in politics and that we can't be bought, and that we will be disruptives that we will switch hit and we will kick up a fuss and not lay down because it is their policy or Centrelink says so .
    If everyone put their political leaning aside and just stuck it to the bastards all the time we might get somewhere.......I hear my wife shouting in the distance "what about China where killing it and we don't change parties " Well maybe it's because they do care a little bit for their citizens and they do try to make life better even though they are brainwashed from all sides it doesn't matter when I look at her pension compared to mine and realise they pay more and they have 1.7billion reasons not to.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2020
    8:29am
    tobymyers, I don't vote LNP. I always vote for the least likely candidate and preference Labor and Liberal last, hoping that we will get a good mix in Parliament and neither major party will be able to control things. It sometimes works to a degree, but as I live in a safe Lib seat, my vote doesn't help anything much.

    But we DO know Labor's policies. They have told us often, and they have demonstrated in the past. I have read their policies and discussed them with Labor politicians. I can assure you, they are just as bad as the LNP in every way.
    MB100D
    30th Oct 2020
    5:27pm
    Spot On Youngagain, The trick is to find a capable Independent that is willing to get exposed to the Political Rat Race. If you can't find one...as you say "vote for the lower ranked candidate and put Labor, LNP, Greens last.
    sunnyOz
    27th Oct 2020
    4:56pm
    "Have you experienced ageism in the workforce?" - heavens, where do I start!
    I was cheated out of my contract position in a Govt Department solely and completely because I was a senior. A new 'young' (mid 20's with an Arts Degree) incoming upstart line manager would openly complain that seniors were stopping younger people from getting into the workplace. So when our contract was up, us over 50's (I was mid 60's) were out the door. Complaints to HR, and appeals, got nowhere.
    I remember clearly applying for one job online. Within half an hour of sending in my application, I received a phone call from a guy saying 'you are exactly what we are looking for' and arranged for an interview. I should explain I am not the hunchback from Notre Dame, I was still very fit and active, dressed and presented well, and spoke well so went for interview. I can still see the look of shock when I walked into the reception area, then the actual interview which was very rushed. I then heard nothing, so made a follow up call, only to be told (by someone different now) - that 'you're not what the company is looking for'. Funny - NOTHING had changed. My experience, qualifications, references, work history were all still the same. The ONLY thing that had changed was that they had actually looked at me.
    Was it my hair style? The suit I wore? My portfolio? My handbag? - NO - was clearly my age. Pretty obvious when I was asked the question 'how do handle taking instructions from someone considerably younger than you?'. Strange, as I am often told I look 10 years younger than I was. That was the last time I applied for a job, and haven't since.
    Rae
    27th Oct 2020
    5:23pm
    Yes. We are all replaced by new graduates being told we were too expensive and they could get three new grads for two of older experienced ones.
    Rae
    27th Oct 2020
    5:20pm
    Definitely an excellent policy to collapse wages in Australia.

    Now we need prices to collapse as well to meet the market.
    panos
    27th Oct 2020
    5:31pm
    Prices collapse hahahhahhahaha................ pull the other one
    Mariner
    27th Oct 2020
    5:50pm
    Was unemployed for a spell in 1994 in my later 40s, looked everywhere for a job. At the time CES (today's Centrelink) handed everyone who had been unemployed for 6+ months a card stating that the Govt would pay this person 50% of the wages for 6 months. At the interview the card came out and I almost gave up. Found a Japanese tourist company finally not wanting the card - "anybody who's been on the dole for 6 months we do not want". That is how I got one of the best jobs I had in my life. So do not give up, even though sometimes it looks impossible.
    usually silent
    27th Oct 2020
    6:17pm
    The young need to be able to get a job so they have a sense of self worth. I remember how easy it was to get work when I was young. I worked hard and was proud of my first earnings. Let the government give the subsidies to the young to find jobs and get on the right track. The government just needs to lower the age pension back to 65 and drop mutual obligations for over 60s who are still needing the jobseeker allowance and bring back a mature allowance. These changes would make for a better society.
    floss
    27th Oct 2020
    7:05pm
    More panic policy from Morrison plus plenty from his spin doctors.The gap is getting bigger wake up Australia.
    Marigold
    27th Oct 2020
    7:40pm
    I think what is wrong with this is that all jobseekers should be treated the same regardless of age. Being young and both malleable, cheaper sometimes and having a fresher approac OR older and experieced, desperate because of ageism and wiser/more know it all has always been issues re whether to employ someone young or someone older when you had to choose. A job seeker is someone looking for a job who may or may not be the best choice for any position. Whether or not, or how much, jobseeker payments are involved should never be allowed to discriminate between candidates and affect choice over who to employ. Its the fairest outcome for applicants and the best outcome for the employer who just needs the best person for the job.
    Golden Oldie
    27th Oct 2020
    9:05pm
    This is really, truly going to bite it in the bum in future years. Being laid off because you are ovrrr 35 means that you don't have the needed number of years to build up your superannuation for retirement. As a result the superannuation idea will crash, and people will be on unemployment benefits, and later an aged pension, for the rest of their ives. So the idea of a super guarantee bites the dust.
    Anonymous
    29th Oct 2020
    8:25am
    The plan for super to fund retirement was never going to work with the stupid means tests they implemented, Golden Oldie. There's no value for most people in having more than a few hundred thousand in super anyway, and people are fast waking up to that fact and making sure they retire with less than the assets test limit.
    Teacher
    28th Oct 2020
    12:27am
    This new JobMaker program reminds me of the original Traineeships when I was teaching at TAFE. The participants had to come to TAFE for training but as soon as their contract time was up and the Government stopped paying the subsidy they were let go and another new trainee was employed under same conditions.
    I was sad to see what happened to these people because some of them showed great potential and would have made excellent fulltime employees.
    So what is the government doing backtracking on their previous remarks about employing older people because they have the experience and skills.
    This is just another 'band-aid' for employment. When is the country going to learn that they need apprentices to learn the trades - we'll always have roads to build and houses to construct and electricity to connect, plumbing, bricklaying, etc. etc. and we need the older, qualified people to do the training because they have the skills to pass on. Our indigenous people have the right idea - the elders remind the younger of 'country' and what they must do to protect it and how they do that.
    We don't have to reinvent the wheel, just oil it and give it a bit of exercise.


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