An out-of-work hospitality worker has opened up about his struggle to support his family of eight on JobSeeker payments.
The man, known only as JP, was already caring for his oldest nephew and a friend’s child when his sister-in-law had serious mental health episode and he now cares for her and her four children as well.
It came at an unfortunate time as the coronavirus pandemic escalated, forcing cafes and restaurants to close or offer takeaway only.
JP was suddenly without a job as he cared for seven others.
The generous caregiver became emotional as he explained how he had to rely on the JobSeeker benefit because he did not qualify for JobKeeper.
Cafes and restaurants were forced to close or offer takeaway only when the coronavirus crisis escalated in March (Pictured: A closed cafe in Melbourne)
On Tuesday Scott Morrison announced the wage subsidy, which currently helps 3.5million Australians, would be reduced in phases as the economy recovers from coronavirus lockdown (pictured: Dozens of people lining up outside Centrelink in Melbourne)
‘I wasn’t eligible for JobKeeper because of the fact that I, like most hospitality workers, have moved around and I moved back to a former employer,’ he said in a video posted to Twitter.
‘I’m currently still without a job.’
A person on JobSeeker with dependent children is eligible for a $1,162 fortnightly payment, $550 of which is a coronavirus supplement.
From September his benefit will be cut from $550 to $250 a fortnight as the government cuts back on its coronavirus wage subsidy program.
The announcement has left JP upset and stressed as he still has to support seven others.
‘I’m now at the point where I’m trying to raise a family of eight on JobSeeker and as you can probably tell I’m just getting a little bit stressed and a little bit upset by it all.’
Australians have rallied to support him after Labor Leader Anthony Albanese shared the clip on Twitter.
‘Hoping he gets more support and help as needed,’ one person wrote.
The man, known only as JP, became emotional as he explained how he had to rely on the JobSeeker benefit because he did not qualify for JobKeeper
JobKeeper is being extended beyond the end of September because the government is worried about businesses potentially collapsing if it’s withdrawn too soon. (Pictured is a barista in Sydney on July 1)
‘What a good human. How can we help?’ another asked.
Unemployment during June amid COVID-19
Australia’s unemployment rate climbed from a 19-year high of 7.1 per cent in May to 7.4 per cent in June – the highest since November 1998
Number without work climbed from 923,000 to a record-high 992,300
Close to a million people unemployed for the first time ever – surpassing 960,200 record set in December 1992
Unemployment increased even though 210,800 more people were employed as COVID-19 shutdowns eased
That was because the participation rate increased from 62.7 per cent to 64 per cent as more people looked for work
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data for June
JP is just one of many Australians calling on the government not to cut JobSeeker payments.
On Tuesday Scott Morrison announced the wage subsidy, which currently helps 3.5million Australians, would be reduced in phases as the economy recovers from lockdown.
The payment was due to end on September 27, but instead it will be decreased from $1,500 to $1,200-a-fortnight.
A lower rate of $750-a-fortnight will go to people who worked fewer than 20 hours a week in February, before coronavirus struck.
The two-tiered system has been brought in because one in four casuals are earning more on JobKeeper than when they worked.
From 4 January, the payments will be reduced to $1,000-a-fortnight for full time staff and to $650-a-fortnight for those who worked fewer than 20 hours.
Fewer businesses will be eligible for JobKeeper as they must continue to prove a revenue decline of 30 per cent compared to before coronavirus.
Many will not meet this threshold because business has picked up after lockdown ended.
This means that the number of people on JobKeeper is expected to decline from 3.5million now to 1.4million between October and December, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
From January 1million people are expected to receive the payment.
How are the support payments changing from September?
* The $1,500 fortnightly wage subsidy will continue until September 27
* From the end of September to January, JobKeeper will be reduced to $1,200 for full-time workers and $750 for people working 20 hours or less
* From January to March, the full-time rate will be $1,000 and part-time will reduce to $650
* Businesses turning over less than $1 billion will have to requalify for the program at both stages through showing a 30 per cent drop in revenue.
* Businesses with more than $1 billion in turnover have to demonstrate a 50 per cent fall
* The elevated unemployment benefit will remain at $1,100 a fortnight until September 27
* From that date until the end of the year the $550 coronavirus supplement will be cut by $300 to make the overall fortnightly payment $800
* People will be able to earn up to $300 without having their payment reduced
* The mutual obligation rules requiring people to search for four jobs a month will restart on August 4
* Penalties for people refusing a job offer will be reintroduced
* Job search requirements will increase in September when the assets test will also return
* The permanent JobSeeker rate to take effect from January next year will be announced in the October 6 budget.