Jobs plan for older workers failing

The Federal Department of Employment is set to overhaul the failing Restart wage subsidy program, designed to get older Australians back to work, from 1 November 2015.


In an exclusive, Max Opray of the The New Daily reported that the $524.8 million Restart program which was introduced in the 2014 federal budget, is offering up to $10,000 over two years to employers willing to take on workers aged over 50.


The original target was to secure work for 32,000 mature-age jobseekers every year, but enquiries made by The New Daily to the Department of Employment reveal that the scheme found jobs for just 2318 people during its first 15 months.


The employment situation only got worse for mature-age workers after the launch of the program – in the year to January 2015, there were 80,000 unemployed Australians aged 55 and over, an increase of 12 per cent over the year before.


The Restart program was originally due to be reassessed in June 2016, but under former employment minister Eric Abetz it was announced in the 2015/16 budget that changes would be brought in well ahead of that date, aiming to increase take-up and reduce complexity for employers.


From this coming Sunday, employers will be able to access the subsidy of $10,000 over 12 months instead of two years.


Rather than waiting out a qualifying period, employers will be able to start receiving the subsidy from the moment the mature-age worker starts work, receiving up to $6500 over a 12-month period and a bonus of up to $3500 for employment which lasts the full 12 months.


There are also special provisions to be introduced for employers taking on 10 or more mature-aged workers to co-ordinate payment times with the costs of group training and induction programs.


The half-a-billion dollars in funding for the Restart scheme has been moved into a single wage subsidy pool of $1.2 billion over four years, shared with three other employment incentive schemes.


Read the full article by Max Opray in the The New Daily.


29 October 2015.