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JobMaker Will Encourage Employers To Discriminate Against Older Workers

JobMaker will encourage employers to discriminate against older workers

JobMaker will encourage employers to discriminate against older workers, according to unions.

It has also been revealed that employers who are currently placing job ads that exclude older workers may be protected from discrimination laws. 

JobMaker will encourage employers to discriminate

JobMaker provides $200 a week for new hires aged 30 and under and $100 a week for those aged between 30 and 35.

Critics say this will encourage employers to replace older, more expensive workers, for younger cheaper ones as a result.

However, to stop this from happening, the government says employers must show an increase their total employee headcount and also payroll.

ACTU president, Michele O’Neil, expressed concerns about age discrimination during a Senate inquiry this week.

She also noted the absence of a dispute resolution process if an employer cuts the hours of existing workers to hire new ones on the wage subsidy.

O’Neil wants the Fair Work Commission to be granted powers to arbitrate disputes.

She argues this will prevent the “very real risk that an existing worker will have their hours reduced”.

Job ads discriminatory

JobMaker is available to new workers employed after 6 October.

As a result, some employers are now placing job ads specifying young workers eligible for the wage subsidy to apply.

However, the Age Discrimination Act makes it unlawful for employers to specify age limits in job ads – in most cases.

Guardian Australia found several dozen job ads on the Seek website specifying that applicants must be young enough to be eligible for JobMaker.

The positions include marketing, tax and as administrative assistants, sales staff and forklift operators.


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Exemptions

Despite the concerns, Philippa Brown from Treasury told the inquiry that exemptions in the Age Discrimination Act will protect employers in such cases.

“Acting in accordance with a government program would not be a breach of the Age Discrimination Act.”

However, independent senator, Rex Patrick, described the legality of the job ads as “clear as mud”.

He pointed out that employers are not acting on behalf of the Commonwealth, therefore the exemption doesn’t apply.

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