People / Resolutions

Not forgotten: here’s how to help creatives left out of Job Keeper

RUSSH Fiona Torre

Did you know that both freelancers and casual staff with less than a year under their belts could be left out of the Federal Govement's Job Keeper scheme? The decision will be made on Wednesday.

Freelancers are the backbone of the creative industries. Casual staff too play a huge role in the arts, events and entertainment fields. These are the people that enthral us with their words, enlighten us with their visuals and images, entertain us with their performances and wow us with their craftsmanship. The creative industries bring us joy, comfort and help us understand the world around us. And now, this industry and its people are in trouble.

Many of the recent moves made by our government are certainly applaudable, particularly the increased funding and support for those out of work and for small businesses experiencing a downturn off the back of COVID-19. But the current subsidy plan excludes two large groups from our population - many casuals and freelancers. According to the MEAA, some in the arts and entertainment industries on visas are also excluded.

What exactly does this mean? Well, the Job Keeper subsidy will provide businesses $1,500 per fortnight per staff member to help these businesses hold onto staff they can no longer afford. All you have to do is prove a 30% downturn and apply. Applications can take a while, but the government has said that payments will be backdated.

But unfortunately, the $1,500 payments won't currently cover any casual staff member that has been with a business for less than a year, which some estimate is around 1 million people in Australia. The payments are also not currently eligible for anyone employed by a business on a freelance basis. This means many businesses have had to cease paying for freelance work and may cut short-term casual staff.

But this could change. The Federal Government is set to make a final decision on whether or not to include freelancers and short-term casuals in the Job Keeper scheme on Wednesday, today. With any luck, we should hear some good news shortly.


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In the meantime, you can head to the MEAA which has set up a tool to help us all get in contact with our MPs and Senators and urge them to include everyone in the Job Keeper subsidy. Many are also using the hashtag #CreateAustraliasFuture on social media to offer support behind the Job Keeper campaign, create awareness and share stories.

These are issues very close to our hearts here at RUSSH and so we've been sharing stories on how we can all try to support each other during this time. We've run a two part series on supporting creatives during COVID-19, you can see part one and part two here. We've also rounded up the Australian fashion labels and New Zealand fashion brands that could use some love.

RUSSH send love to all those affected by the coronavirus. Stay safe, stay home.