What is a wage subsidy?
Wage subsidies are payments from the Australian Government designed to encourage companies to employ eligible candidates. They not only give employers greater flexibility in their hiring options, but businesses can also use these payments to offset the costs of on-the-job training and mentoring. As a result, it’s easier for companies to expand and grow their business, which helps boost the economy and creates more jobs. Through the Government-funded jobactive network, wage subsidies are available to businesses who hire eligible candidates such as long-term unemployed, young, mature-age or Indigenous job seekers. The maximum amount offered by the Australian Government for all wage subsidies paid through employment services providers is $10,000 (inclusive of GST).
What job types qualify for wage subsidies?
Some job types do not qualify for wage subsidies, so make sure you know what positions might be eligible. The following qualify for wage subsidies:
- permanent full-time positions
- permanent part-time positions
- apprenticeships and traineeships
- jobs that comply with Australian employment standards
These situations do not qualify for wage subsidies:
- immediate family members hired for a role
- workers who are receiving another Australian Government wage subsidy
- jobs that displace existing employees
- commission-based, subcontracting or self-employment positions
What types of wage subsidies are there?
Different types of wage subsidies are available depending on the category the employee falls into in each case. All of these payments are available over a period of six months. Here is an overview of wage subsidies, employee categories and amounts (inclusive of GST in each case):
Restart Wage Subsidy
- for employees aged 50 years or over
- up to $10,000 through Restart ($6,500 is available for full-time employment with a bonus payment of up to $3,500 for employment that lasts 12 months)
Indigenous Wage Subsidy
- for employees from an Indigenous Australian or Torres Strait Islander background
- up to $10,000
Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy
- for employees aged 15-24 years
- up to $10,000
Youth Wage Subsidy
- for employees aged 25-29 years
- up to $6,500
Long Term Unemployed Subsidy
- for long-term unemployed workers registered with an employment services provider for 12 months or more
- up to $6,500
Parents Wage Subsidy
- for workers who are the principal carer of their children
- up to $6,500
Wage Start Subsidy
- for employees who have been out of work for over 12 months and are hired for at least 15 hours per week over 26 weeks
- up to $6,000
No matter what type of candidate you are looking for, read our guide on How to Find Good Employees for recruitment tips that’ll apply across the board.
How are wage subsidies paid?
Eligible businesses can receive wage subsidy payments over a six-month period from employment services providers. Employers can choose how frequently they would like them to be made to best suit their business needs, for example, weekly or fortnightly.
Who is eligible for a wage subsidy?
Wage subsidies for employers can help businesses expand and employ new staff. Certain criteria must be met by both the business that’s applying and the person they’re hiring.
Wage subsidies are available to businesses hiring an employee who is either:
- 15 to 29 years old
- an Indigenous Australian
- 50 years or older
- a parent, or
- registered with an employment services provider for 12 months or more.
The employer must meet the following criteria:
- have an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- have never previously employed the person they are hiring
- not be an Australian, state or territory government agency
- ensure the person being hired meets the eligibility requirements for the wage subsidy
- expect the role being offered to be ongoing and for at least 20 hours per week on average over the six-month wage subsidy period
- guarantee that the work complies with employment standards for the position (for example, that it is suitable work and pays at least the national minimum wage).
How can employers apply for a wage subsidy?
As a first step, contact an employment services provider to establish if your organisation is eligible for support. It’s advisable that you approach the provider as soon as the job in question starts to ensure that you don’t miss out on a wage subsidy. Employers must apply for a wage subsidy agreement within 12 weeks (84 days) of the new employee’s start date to be eligible. Related: How to Find Good Employees Now that you’re familiar with the wage subsidies available to your business, browse our Hiring Resources for Employers to get you started on your recruitment journey.