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Charity workers must not be left out of JobKeeper payments

Apr 6, 2020, 09:37 AM by Maiy Azize

Anglicare Australia says the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy could leave thousands of charity workers behind.

“Charities are seeing huge falls in their income – but the JobKeeper scheme will still leave many of their workers out,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“Charities are run differently from businesses. Our budgets are not just about simple profits and losses. Grants that are used to carry out one aspect of our work can’t be used to fund another aspect of our work.

“That means that if we’re seeing major losses in our childcare services or from our op shops, we can’t prop them up with funding from other grants.

“These losses mean that some charities will have to stand down a huge number of workers – but still won’t be eligible for the JobKeeper payment.”

Ms Chambers called on the government to work with the charity and not-for-profit sector on a solution before the program is passed.

“The Government has now recognised that charities are different from businesses, and that’s a great start. Now we need to see changes in how this scheme will work.

“That means that the JobKeeper scheme should exclude grants where the funding is tied. Charities simply don’t have the freedom to use that funding to prop up other workers.”

Ms Chambers said that these changes were urgent, with the scheme due to pass parliament on Wednesday.

“At this time of crisis, more and more people will be coming for us for help. People are going to need to unprecedented support from charities as they recover from this pandemic and this downturn.

“We hope the government will continue to work with us urgently, to make sure we can be there for all Australians.”