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Victoria Lockdown Extension – Should JobKeeper Enabling Directions Return?

Published June 2, 2021 (last updated on November 29, 2023) | Adam Wyatt - Content Writer


The seven-day extension of Victoria’s lockdown is evidence JobKeeper enabling directions ended too prematurely, according to Employsure, Australia’s largest workplace relations advisor.

If JobKeeper enabling directions were available to businesses affected by the current lockdown, it would give them greater flexibility to stand down staff, alter or reduce work hours, and change work locations or duties.

While the Victorian government has extended its business support package for eligible employers, it’s clear the JobKeeper scheme should have also been extended, or at least kept in reserve, to help businesses in circumstances like this.

As the situation continues to unfold in the state, the lack of flexibility employers once had makes the recovery all the more tougher.

“This is the first lockdown in a post-JobKeeper world, and the current support being offered acts as little more than pocket money compared to the full financial loss that is being felt across multiple industries,” said Employsure Business Partner Josh Paterson.

“As we’ve previously seen, JobKeeper enabling directions empowered employers through various waves of COVID-19. The current system does not give them enough freedom to adapt, and it’s times like these where that flexibility is needed the most.”

Employsure has previously stated the financial support and flexibility JobKeeper enabling directions provided helped employers keep their doors open and staff on their books throughout the pandemic.

Australia’s workplace relations system is one of the most complicated in the world, and the changes and support JobKeeper provided helped employers and workers across the country by both saving and creating jobs.

The cash grants eligible business owners will receive as a result of this lockdown do not even come close to covering what they have actually lost. Staff have been laid-off, food and perishable stock has been thrown out, and now employers are being told they have to do it all again over this coming week.

The Victorian government is now seeking out further financial assistance from the Commonwealth, to coincide with its own business support package.

“Small business is the key to our economic recovery, and the number of employers we’ve seen close their doors over the past year is truly heart-breaking. Without added support and flexibility, we will see far more close as a result.

“While some employers will be able to hold out until restrictions are lifted, for some sadly, the increased pressure of operating in this environment will be their end.”

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