Australia sees workers on wage subsidies fall

The number of workers who collected wage subsidies decreased by about 2 million over an eight-month period last year.
By: | February 18, 2021

The number of Australian workers who receive wage subsidies are falling, ahead of the Australian government’s wage subsidy programme coming to an end on March 28, show figures from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

According to the data, 1.54 million employees collected the wage subsidy between October and December last year, compared to 3.6 million between April and September.

The largest percentage of workers coming off the payment are those residing in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia. Victoria showed the smallest drop, and is still the state which has the highest number of workers on the scheme, at 626,000.

The Australian government extended the JobKeeper scheme, which was set to end last year, until March 2021. However, it tightened the eligibility criteria and lowered the payments from A$1,500 (US$1,163) to A$1,200 (US$930) a fortnight, which came into effect after September. Since January, the support has dropped to A$1,000 (US$775) a fortnight. 

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Sector-wise, the number of workers on JobKeeper in retail fell by 68%, while transport, postal and warehousing showed only a 36% drop in the number of workers receiving the subsidy. 

Accommodation and food services meanwhile reported a 52% drop in the number of people on the scheme.