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We need to plan for life after JobKeeper now. We need to make it portable

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate John Quiggin writes in The Conversation (14.5.20) that many Australians are going to need some sort of wage subsidy well beyond a six-month timeframe to support them through the pandemic downturn. The author suggests the best kind of subsidy would be 'portable' and not tied to previous employment.

'As an emergency response to the potential mass unemployment created by the sudden lockdown, the Morrison government’s JobKeeper program has been reasonably successful. An estimated 700 000 employers, accounting for 4.7 million workers have signed up.

'On the other hand, the sign up of workers has been been about one million less than expected. Plenty of problems have emerged with limits on coverage.

'Some reflect the difficulty of defining a “job” in an environment in which permanent employment has been eroded in favour of casual employment and contracting and the gig economy.

'Others seem arbitrary, such as the effective exclusion of local government and university employees, and workers whose employers are companies owned by foreign governments.

'There will be bigger problems as time goes on.'


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