I’m here with insights for Australian businesses on 17 March 2021. In today’s briefing I’m covering off on what the end of JobKeeper means to managing your workforce. While the JobKeeper comes to an end, the wage subsidy package for new apprentices and trainees has been extended and I cover that in today’s update too.
End of JobKeeper: What it means for your business
The JobKeeper scheme provided support for many Tenfold clients by way of wage subsidies as well temporary changes to the Fair Work Act provisions for businesses to manage their workforce with greater flexibility by using JobKeeper enabling directions.
Some businesses were able to continue to use the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions if they qualified in JobKeeper Extension as Legacy Employer or Qualifying Employer.
(For more information on Legacy Employer/Qualifying Employer, see my briefing of 22 September 2020)
When JobKeeper Extension ends on Sunday, 28 March, the wage subsidies will cease along with all Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions:
- JobKeeper enabling directions and agreements for legacy employers
- Directions to change an employee’s usual duties or work location
- Agreements to change an employee’s days or times of work
- JobKeeper enabling stand down directions
What this means for business owners
Many Tenfold clients along with other businesses have returned to their normal pre-COVID-19 operating levels and continued to grow. However, some clients are still feeling the effects of the economic impact of the pandemic. If you have been making use of the temporary changes to the Fair Work provisions as a JobKeeper Legacy Employer or JobKeeper Extension Qualifying Employer, you should now prepare to revert back to the usual pay and conditions for your employees.
JobKeeper Enabling Directions and Agreements
Some Tenfold clients used the JobKeeper enabling directions to adapt their workforce model, such changing work hours, implementing work from home, and taking on different duties. In many cases, our clients have found that the new model now suits their business and their team better. For those businesses, consider if you need to revisit and/or make updates to the employment agreements you have with your team members.
From Monday 29 March, the normal processes for making changes to employment contracts apply. Speak with your coach about any changes you’re considering making permanent and they can point you in the right direction for advice to ensure you follow the Fair Work process.
JobKeeper Enabling Stand Down Directions
If you have given a JobKeeper Enabling Stand Down Direction (in other words, where no work has been allocated to an employee), you may need to consider if it’s appropriate to re-engage the employee in your business or finish their employment.
If you are considering ending employment, the standard processes apply for making someone redundant, including appropriate notification and consultation, and in some cases, there may be requirements for notice and severance pay. Please speak to your coach before making any decisions in this area. Tenfold can direct you to the appropriate information or specialist advisors if you do need to head down the path of ending employment arrangements.
For more information on the end of JobKeeper, visit Fair Work here: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/end-of-jobkeeper-scheme
Wage subsidy for new apprentices has been extended
The Federal Government has announced the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements (BAC) subsidy has been extended.
Employers who sign up a new or recommencing apprentice or trainee before 30 September 2021 will have up to 50% of the apprentice’s gross wages subsidised for 12 months for up to a maximum of $7,000 per quarter.
What this means for business owners
I wrote about this wage subsidy when it was first announced – see here for my briefing on 16 October 2020.
Here’s a quick refresher on the BAC subsidy package:
- New hires or recommencing apprentices/trainees
- Any size business, anywhere, any industry
Points to note for BAC wage subsidy:
- There’s no limit to the number of apprentices or trainees per employer for BAC subsidy payments
- If you have an apprentice or trainee, you can’t get other wage subsidies for them such as Job Hiring Credit. Where you’re eligible for multiple subsidies, you’ll need to choose which payment to claim for. Your coach can help you calculate which subsidy will benefit your business the most.
Your coach can help you work out if/how a subsidised resource could help your business and support your growth plans.
Ashley Thomson B.Eng. (Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Tenfold Business Coaching