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A wage subsidy is a payment to encourage businesses to employ eligible job seekers. Wage subsidies can help employers to expand their business and employ new staff, which will help boost the economy and create more jobs.
Employers can receive up to $6,500 (GST inclusive) over 12 months if they employ eligible job seekers. Pro-rata payments starting from $3,250 (GST inclusive) are available for part-time work between 15-29 hours per week. The amount will vary depending on the number of hours worked, but to receive a wage subsidy, the employee must work for a minimum of 15 hours per week.
Employers are able to negotiate flexible payment options with their employment services providers from the day the employee starts in the job. This means that wage subsidies will be paid flexibly to employers, as frequently as necessary, to meet individual business needs.
Employers receive payments for the actual hours worked by the employee. If the employment ceases early, employers will still be able to receive payment commensurate with the hours and duration of the employment.
What wage subsidies are available?
The following wage subsidies are available if you employ:
- a job seeker 50 years or over: up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) through the Restart programme
- a job seeker under 30 years of age: up to $6,500 (GST inclusive) through the Youth Wage Subsidy
- a job seeker who is a parent: up to $6,500 (GST inclusive) through the Parents Wage Subsidy
- a long-term unemployed job seeker (12 months) and an Indigenous job seeker (six months): up to $6,500 (GST inclusive) through the Long Term Unemployed and Indigenous Wage Subsidy
Am I an eligible employer?
To be eligible for a wage subsidy, your business must:
- be a legal entity with an Australian Business Number
- have not previously received a wage subsidy of the same type for the same job seeker
- not be an Australian, State or Territory government agency.
What types of jobs can I offer?
You can access a wage subsidy if the position you offer an eligible job seeker:
- is for a minimum of 15 hours per week
- is ongoing
- complies with minimum employment standards applicable to the position.
Apprenticeships and traineeships can be eligible for a wage subsidy.
Also, employers who decide to hire a job seeker who has completed a work experience placement through the National Work Experience Programme, may be eligible for a wage subsidy.
Some positions are not eligible for a wage subsidy, including:
- commission-based, subcontracting or self-employment positions
- work for an immediate family member of the employer (for example, a spouse or child)
- work that displaces an existing employee.
Who is an eligible job seeker?
The job seeker you employ must be with a jobactive or Transition to Work provider, or, for Restart only, a jobactive, Disability Employment Services or Community Development Programme provider.
Other eligibility requirements also apply based on a job seeker’s circumstances – see the relevant wage subsidy page for more information, and talk to your local employment services provider.
How is the wage subsidy paid?
Wage subsidy payments are made by negotiation with your employment services provider to suit your business needs.
You will be able to negotiate flexible payment options from the day the employee starts in the job.
To claim the subsidy payments, employers need to enter into a Wage Subsidy Agreement with an employment services provider. Employers must provide ongoing evidence of the employment (for example, pay slips) to receive payments.
How do I apply?
To apply for a wage subsidy, contact a local jobactive or Disability Employment Services or Community Development Programme provider. You can find your local provider by calling the Employer Hotline on 13 17 15 or through the provider search on the jobactive website.
To ensure you do not miss out on the wage subsidy, you need to contact a provider within 28 days of employing the job seeker and complete the application process for the relevant wage subsidy.
Want more information?
Call the Employer Hotline on 13 17 15 or use the provider search on the jobactive website to find a local provider and ask them about wage subsidies
For a version of this information to print, download the jobactive - wage subsidies to support Australian businesses fact sheet
Note that call charges apply for calls to ‘13’ numbers from mobile phones.