The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has joined their federal counterpart, ACOSS, in urging the Federal Government to extend the JobMaker wage subsidy to people over 35 who have been unemployed for a year or more.
Announced in this year’s Budget, JobMaker provides eligible employers with a hiring credit of $200 per week for each additional employee aged 16-29 or $100 per week for each additional employee aged 30-35.
ACTCOSS CEO Emma Campbell said younger Canberrans had been disproportionately impacted by unemployment in this pandemic.
Figures from the Department of Social Services showed there were 7,728 people in the ACT aged under 35 who were receiving income support while looking for full-time work in June 2020, three times more than in June 2019 (2,547).
Just under half (47%) of people in the ACT who receive income support while looking for full-time work are aged 35 or over.
For those aged 35 and over, this figure almost doubled from 3,632 in June 2019 to 6,924 in June 2020.
Ms Campbell said it was “crucial” the JobSeeker payment and other income support payments were permanently increased so they keep Canberrans experiencing unemployment out of poverty.
“It is important that JobMaker supports those Canberrans who are experiencing long-term unemployment to find work, many of whom are likely to be aged 35 or over.”
ACOSS made a submission to the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into Economic Recovery Package (JobMaker Hiring Credit) this week, asking for the extension of the JobMaker program.
Ms Campbell said long-term unemployed people were a diverse group who were unemployed for many different reasons, ranging from illness or disability or the interruption of careers by caring responsibilities, to the misfortune of entering or re-entering the paid workforce during a recession.
“Older people experiencing long-term unemployment face significant barriers to finding work,” Ms Campbell said.
“Evidence suggests that well-designed wage subsidies can make a real difference for people at risk of prolonged unemployment by encouraging employers to hire people who would otherwise be left behind.”