JobKeeper Payment

The JobKeeper Payment was a wage subsidy designed to support workers and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis. Under JobKeeper, registered employers received fortnightly payments for each eligible worker. This payment was to cover the cost of wages and keep workers employed during the crisis.

The Federal Government introduced JobKeeper after a hard-fought campaign from the Australian union movement. Thanks to this campaigning effort, millions of workers stayed employed despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

On March 28, 2021, the Government ended the JobKeeper program, despite many parts of the economy being a long way from recovery and in the face of serious concerns from the Treasury about job losses.  

1.1 million workers lost their JobKeeper payment and the Head of Treasury estimated that between 100,000 and 150,000 workers lost their job as a result of the program ending.

Of the remaining million workers, hundreds of thousands likely lost hours, shifts and pay.

The Australian union movement continues to fight to keep people in work and keep money in the hands of the working people.


Funding for this factsheet was provided by:

  • the Victorian Government as part of the uTech project; and
  • the Fair Work Ombudsman. 

Please note that the information given here is general information only and is not legal advice. For further assistance, it is recommended you speak to your union.

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