This content is under review and will be transferred to the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources as a result of the Administrative Arrangements Order made on 5 December 2019 with effect from 1 February 2020.

Employing staff


When small businesses grow, there are more jobs for Australians. Small businesses are integral to the Government’s jobs strategy and Australia’s more than three million small businesses provide employment for around six million Australians.

Help to get the right employees


The current employment services system, jobactive, connects jobseekers with employers and is delivered by a network of jobactive providers in around 1,700 locations across Australia. It has recorded nearly 1.4 million job placements since July 2015.

For more information visit the jobactive website.

New Employment Services Model

jobactive is being transformed to deliver better services to job seekers and employers and a better system for providers. The Government has invested $249.8 million over five years to trial a new employment services model as part of our plan for a stronger economy.

The trial is being implemented in phases from 1 July 2019 in two employment regions – Adelaide South, South Australia and the Mid North Coast, New South Wales, before being rolled-out nationally in July 2022. The new model will benefit over a million job seekers each year as well as thousands of businesses

The new model will include online tools to help employers search for candidates for free, enabling them to meet skills shortages faster. Businesses will have better access to the range of support available to assist with employing a job seeker and the new model will include incentives for providers to build better relationships with employers and service their needs.

For more information visit the New Employment Service Model page on this website.

Wage subsidies

The Australian Government provides financial incentives of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) to help employers hire new staff in an ongoing job. Wage subsidies are delivered, and managed, by employment services providers.

Jobs can be full-time, part-time or casual and need to be for an average of at least 20 hours per-week, over the six months of the wage subsidy agreement. Apprenticeships and traineeships may also attract wage subsidies.

The new employee must be registered with a jobactive, Transition to Work, or ParentsNext employment services provider. Employers of Disability Employment Services or the Community Development Programme participants may access the Restart wage subsidy.

For more information visit the jobsearch website at the recruiting staff and wage subsidies pages of the website.

Helping young people find jobs in business

The Government is investing $888.3 million over four years on the Youth Employment Package.

Youth Jobs PaTH helps young people gain the skills and work experience they need to get and keep a job. It also supports businesses to trial a young person and get help with wage and training costs when they hire.

Prepare – Employability Skills Training (EST) helps young people understand what employers expect in the workplace and supports them to get job ready. Businesses can work with EST providers to design cost-free, tailored training to suit their needs so their new employee or intern is well prepared from day one.

Trial – PaTH internships enable businesses to trial a young person to see if they are the right fit for the business, before they hire. Young people gain valuable work experience and can demonstrate their skills to businesses looking to hire.

Hire – Youth Bonus Wage Subsidies of up to $10,000 may be available to businesses that hire eligible young people in ongoing work.

For more information visit the youth page of this website.

Helping young people transition from school into the workplace

The Transition to Work service is an intensive, pre-employment program to improve the work-readiness of young people (aged 15–21 years) and help them into work (including apprenticeships and traineeships) or education. Transition to Work is responding to the needs of young people by expanding eligibility to allow more young people access to 12 months of intensive, pre-employment support helping them to develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours that are highly valued and directly relevant to local employers through the following measures:

  • On 1 January 2018 Transition to Work eligibility was expanded to give more Indigenous young people access to 12 months of intensive pre-employment assistance when they leave school.
  • From 1 January 2020 eligibility for Transition to Work increases to 24 years of age.

Transition to Work providers have strong links with employers, community services and schools in their local community. They work closely with employers to ensure young people develop
pre-employment skills directly relevant to the needs of local employers. The service also provides post placement support to ensure the young person settles into a job and that the employer's expectations are met.

For more information visit the Transition to Work page on this website or or find your local Transition to Work provider today on the jobsearch website.

Supporting apprenticeships

Many new jobs in small businesses are apprenticeships. For small businesses, giving a young person a start with on-the-job training can help them expand and create more local jobs.

Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program

The Government is providing $1.8 billion from 2019–20 to 2022–23 through the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program (AAIP) to support businesses employ apprentices. Employers can apply for standard incentives of up to $4,000 over the life of an apprenticeship, as well as a range of additional targeted incentives to support employers of apprentices who are school-based, adults, working in rural or regional areas, or members of a disadvantaged group.

For more information and assistance regarding Australian Apprenticeships, including eligibility advice on payments available under the AAIP, contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.

For more information visit the Australian Apprenticeships website. 

Skilling Australians Fund

The Government’s Skilling Australians Fund helps deliver thousands of additional apprenticeships and traineeships by working in partnership with state and territory governments.

The Fund has provided over $330 million in matched funding from the six participating state and territory governments since it commenced in July 2017, delivering around 80,000 apprentices, trainees and employment-related opportunities.

Priority is given to state projects that support occupations in high demand, those with a reliance on skilled migration, in future growth industries, and in rural and regional areas.

For more information visit the Skilling Australians Fund page of this website.

Other Australian apprenticeships incentives

As part of its Delivering Skills for Today and Tomorrow package, the Government is providing $156.3 million to support up to 80,000 additional apprenticeships over five years through an Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment. The Government has also opened a second phase of the Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy trial, which provides financial support to up to 1,630 rural and regional employers, and has lowered the age of eligibility for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices incentive from 25 to 21 years. These new measures commenced on 1 July 2019 and will assist small businesses across Australia to hire and retain apprentices in areas of skills need.

For more information visit the Australian Apprenticeships website.

Better access to employee share schemes

Building on the Government’s 2015 changes to employee share schemes, the Government is making it easier for businesses to offer their employees opportunities to share in the growth and success of the business they work for. This in turn will help employers attract, retain and motivate their employees, and grow their business.

For more information visit the Australia Taxation Office website.

Additional information

Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman helps employers understand and meet their workplace relations responsibilities by providing information and resources they can rely on.

For information about pay, leave, conditions, termination of employment, resources and information to help manage staff visit the below website.

For more information visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website. 

Small Business Helpline

Not sure of your employment obligations?

The Fair Work Ombudsman’s small business helpline is there to provide small business people with a priority service to help with quick, easy and targeted employment advice

For more information phone: 13 13 94