Last-minute JobKeeper jostle as deadline looms
Labor will force a showdown on JobKeeper as it pushes to create a safety net for the wages of workers in recovering businesses that no longer qualify for the wage subsidy.
The Opposition's stunning turnaround could delay the $32 billion extension of the Morrison Government's showpiece financial response to the COVID recession.
Opposition industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke said workers at so-called "legacy businesses" could have their hours slashed by 40 per cent, costing them $300 a week.
Legacy businesses, which lose eligibility for the second round of JobKeeper but can still show a 10 per cent fall in revenues compared with last year, would be entitled to some exemptions from the Fair Work Act.
Mr Burke said the exemptions could lead to workers having their hours cut by up to 40 per cent, knocking their take home pay down from $753 a week to $450.
"Why should a business trading at 90 per cent of normal have the power to take away 40 per cent of their workers' wages with no safety net in place?" he said.
These are the same businesses the Government does not believe need taxpayer support through JobKeeper. This means the cost of business support is being shifted from the Government to low paid workers."
Labor moved amendments to establish a safety net so that no worker can end up on less than the JobKeeper rate, which is set to fall to $1200 a fortnight after September 28 and $750 for those working less than 20 hours a week.
Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter said Labor's proposal ignored the fact that workers' hours could only be reduced if they could not be "usefully employed for the employee's normal days or hours because of the impact of COVID-19".
"While a business's situation may have improved to the extent that it has come off JobKeeper, it has not recovered enough to be operating at full capacity," he said.
"If Mr Burke's approach was adopted, it could be the tipping point for the survival of many businesses and that would cost jobs."
Originally published as Last-minute JobKeeper jostle as deadline looms