MEAA says media companies should re-hire stood down workers in light of $130bn Jobkeeper scheme

Media, arts and entertainment companies which stood down workers following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) should re-hire that workforce in light of the Federal Government’s $130bn ‘Jobkeeper’ scheme, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has said.

The program will help to support businesses reporting a 30% loss in revenue, or 50% for businesses earning over $1bn.

Scott Morrison’s $130bn Jobkeeper scheme should encourage media and arts companies to rehire workers, says the MEAA

The MEAA believes businesses should be re-hiring stood down employees and contractors, and working to keep them on the payroll. The scheme would provide a $1,500 fortnightly subsidy for workers and is expected to be claimed by around 6m workers.

MEAA chief executive Paul Murphy said the hope is that the scheme will support freelancers/ sole traders also.

“The vast majority of workers in the arts and entertainment industries are employed in insecure jobs,” said Murphy.

“Freelancers normally rely on income from job to job and gig to gig. This precarity meant that COVID-19 threatened to push them out of our industries and into the never-never.

“An income subsidy is vital to keep these people engaged with their regular places of work and to ensure the arts and entertainment industry is best-placed to rebound quickly once the current crisis is over.

“While more detail is required about how the income subsidy will operate, MEAA does welcome that the government has listened to concerns and ensured that sole traders/ freelancers are not left on the outer.

“We now call on employers in the industries MEAA represents to urgently re-employ staff they have let go since the pandemic began to have an impact on the industry.

“We are all in this together, and when they combine the income subsidy with other forms of business support including payments to boost cash flow, employers should pull out all stops to keep workers on their payrolls.”

Under the Jobkeeper allowance, casual workers who have been with the same employer for under 12 months will not be eligible for the payment. The MEAA believes this should be amended so workers aren’t forced onto welfare.


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