SMEs that hire job seekers under the age of 30 or workers aged 50 or older will share in a redesigned national wage subsidy pool, worth approximately $1.2 billion over four years.
In a statement accompanying the budget papers, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the subsidy pool, which is part of the government’s Growing Jobs and Small Business package, will “support employers and assist job seekers into work”.
The subsidy pool consolidates four existing programs: the Long Term Unemployed Wage Subsidy, the Youth Subsidy, the Restart Subsidy and the Tasmanian Jobs Program.
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From November 1, eligible employers will receive a subsidy of up to $6500 if they hire a job seeker under the age of 30, an Indigenous job seeker, a parent returning to the workforce, or a long-term unemployed job seeker.
Eligible employers that hire workers aged 50 or older will also receive up to $10,000 under the Restart arm of the program, and the cash will be available progressively over 12 months instead of the current 24 months.
This will be the first time an employment subsidy of $6500 will be available for parents who are on income support and the subsidy available through the Tasmanian Jobs Program will increase from $3250 to up to $6500 over six months.
“These reforms will provide assistance to employers when they need it most by helping with the upfront costs of hiring and training new staff,” said Minister Abetz.
Abetz said the government will also commit $331 million over four years for a new “Youth Employment Strategy”.
This includes $212 million over the four years to provide an intensive “Transition to Work” program to support people aged between 15 and 21 years who are at high risk of long-term unemployment and welfare dependency.
Slated for a commencement date of January 1, 2016, the program will involve community-based organisations help young people develop work-related skills and undertake work experience, while also encouraging them to take up apprenticeships or traineeships,
An additional $106 million will also be provided for support programs for vulnerable young people at most risk of long-term unemployment, including migrants, parents and those experiencing mental illness.
The budget will also include $18.3 million over five years for a national work experience program, which will allow job seekers to complete up to 25 hours of unpaid work experience a week for up to four weeks while still receiving income payments.
“This will allow particularly young job seekers the change to develop practical skills, gain workplace experience and better connect them with real jobs,” Abetz said.