Two tiers of unemployment benefit

Stuff reports:

The Government is promising to pay workers who lose their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis more than double the benefit, in a newly announced $1.2 billion scheme.

The weekly “income relief” payments, set at $490 a week for full-time workers and $250 a week for part-time workers, will be given to workers instead of the unemployment benefit, if they lost their job due to Covid-19 after March 1. …

The untaxed payments are more than double that of the jobseeker benefit for a single person aged over 25-years, which are currently set at $250, after tax. 

The scheme is expected to cost $1.2b, but will save the Government $635 million in paying unemployment benefits, meaning an additional cost of $570m. The money will come from the Government’s Covid-19 response fund. 

The payment will be available to people who lost their job after March 1, and will be available until November. After 12-weeks, any unemployed workers will have to take the jobseeker benefit. 

It seems bizarre that someone made redundant on 28 February gets $250 a week and on 1 March or later gets double that.

But what this is about is preventing an backlash before the election. So they give an extra $600 million for 12 weeks to keep those made redundant happier.

The Greens and others will no doubt demand that everyone on the unemployment benefit be paid $500 a week.

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