The government is refusing to introduce a UK-style wage subsidy to save jobs, despite pleas from business, unions and Labor.
The British government has committed to paying 80 percent of workers’ wages to save its economy and millions of jobs.
UK-style wage subsidy rejected in favour of other stimulus measures
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the government will announce alternative stimulus measures in the next few days.
Labor, unions and business groups want the government to introduce a wage subsidy.
They want it based on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 80 percent wage subsidy aimed at keeping people employed.
But the Australian government has repeatedly rejected the idea.
Cormann told Sky News people financially impacted by COVID-19 need support “as quickly as possible”.
“No, we will not look at a UK-style system because in an Australian context that just wouldn’t work.
“If we came up with a completely different system, a completely different approach and had to start up a system from scratch it would take us way too long to get that into the community.”
Other countries introducing UK-style wage subsidies
But Labor industrial relation spokesman Tony Burke says many other countries have managed to set up a wage subsidy.
- the Netherlands, and
- New Zealand.
“They’re all setting up wage subsidy schemes so people can keep their jobs instead of joining unemployment queues during this crisis,” Mr Burke told AAP.
“The Morrison government’s response? Nah, it’s all too hard. The Australian people deserve better.”
Labor criticises delay in financial support
Labor has criticised the length of time unemployment benefits are being paid to people under the government’s current stimulus package.
The coronavirus supplement worth $550 per fortnight, will effectively double the JobSeeker payment, which recently replaced the Newstart allowance.
But the supplement won’t reach sacked workers until April 27.
Furthermore, the second payment won’t be paid until July 10, while pensioners and families will have to wait 16 weeks for the payment.
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