Government refuses to rule out more early JobKeeper terminations

Date: 10 June 2020

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has refused to offer a guarantee that more workers will not be kicked off JobKeeper before the official expiry date and says there's a "kill clause" in the legislation that allows it.

Despite the Prime Minister offering a guarantee on Friday that JobKeeper will last until the end of September, 120,000 childcare workers will no longer secure the wage subsidy from July 20 under new changes announced this week.

During a fiery Senate hearing into COVID-19 in Canberra yesterday, Senator Cormann was grilled over the decision to kick childcare workers off the wage subsidy under a transition package announced on Monday.

"This guarantee that JobKeeper will be there and people can count on it, that isn't really a guarantee at all is it'' Labor Senator Katy Gallagher asked.

Senator Cormann responded by saying he "completely disagreed with that".

"JobKeeper will be there,'' he said.

Senator Gallagher said that wasn't the case if 120,000 childcare workers had just lost access to JobKeeper.

"What are they counting on?''she asked. "Will you rule out other sectors losing JobKeeper?"

In response, Senator Cormann offered no guarantees.

Childcare centres will not be left with nothing however, they will secure a transitional payment of 25 per cent of pre-COVID levels of revenue.

This is likely to be worth less than JobKeeper but is more flexible because it allows centres to use the money to pay for casuals who were previously not eligible for JobKeeper, particularly those working in after school hours care.

The Finance Minister hinted that future reforms may include consideration of casuals who are paid more under the flat rate $1500 JobKeeper payment than they previously earned, noting the Labor Party has also called for this reform.