Workers could lose their leave entitlements because of a loophole in the JobKeeper rules, according to Labor.
Tony Burke says a treasury briefing shows workers will be forced to exhaust their leave while their boss is receiving the wage subsidy.
As a result, businesses will benefit by having their staff use up their leave, while pocketing the $1,500 fortnightly subsidy.
Workers to lose leave entitlements under current arrangements
Employers can instruct staff to use their accrued paid leave during the current coronavirus pandemic.
But at the same time, employers can claim the JobKeeper subsidy, and not pass it onto their workers.
Tony Burke, opposition industrial relations spokesperson, says he is “stunned” by the loophole:
“What it looks like will be possible is: if the employer gets the wage subsidy, instead of passing it through to you as a wage, they collect it and still have you running down your leave entitlements.
“So effectively, instead of the government subsidising someone’s wage, they’re subsidising the balance sheet for an employer while the employer simply runs down all the leave entitlements of their employees.
“It might seem technical but there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of permanent workers, who at the end of this will either have some of their leave entitlements or won’t, based on whether this loophole survives.”
“WORKER LOSES CLAIM TO KEEP LEAVE WHILE ON JOBKEEPER”
Concern for casual workers
Furthermore, Labor says it is concerned about casuals with less than 12 months’ service with their current employer.
They include workers in:
- retail and hospitality;
- teachers who move between schools;
- entertainment and arts workers on forward contracts; and
- many construction workers who are all set to miss out on support.
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