Monday, February 6, 2017

Could your small business benefit from hiring a mature aged employee - with a government subsidy of their wage?

A government incentive of up to $10,000 to hire a mature-age worker

If you run a small or medium size business in Australia and are looking at hiring extra staff, then you might consider taking advantage of a government subsidy for hiring a mature-age worker (aged 50 or over).

If you're not aware of the federal government's JobActive Restart program, then read on - because up to a $10,000 "Restart" subsidy for an employee's wage is available as an incentive for you to hire an eligible over-50 job seeker......

Perhaps you're like me - and this caught you unawares. As a business owner, it's easy to become a little isolated from the resources and support that can be available, because we get so immersed in the day-to-day operation of the business.

But with all of the taxes that we pay, if there's a chance to get some financial help from the government in return - then hey, I'm listening with both ears!

Would your business be eligible?

As with any government subsidy, there are naturally some conditions that need to be met. It's not a gift that comes without some strings attached - but they do seem reasonable.

Some of the main requirements include -
  • Your business requires an ABN
  • The full wage subsidy is payable if employment is for an ongoing job that is at least 30 hours per week. Pro-rate subsidy can be available for employment of between 15 - 29 hours per week (less than 15 hours is not eligible)
  • The job cannot be for work that displaces an existing employee
  • Sub-contract or self-employment jobs are not eligible
  • The job seeker must be aged 50 years or older and have been on income support for at least 6 months
So how would the $10,000 wage subsidy be paid, if your business meets the eligibility conditions?

Payment is somewhat negotiable, but can comprise $6,500 over a 12 month period - or on a pro-rata basis for less that this period. And a bonus of an additional $3,500 is paid if the employment has lasted the full 12 months.

More information about the wage subsidy can be found at JobActive Restart on the website of the Department of Employment

Why hire a mature-age worker?

My own business comprises some recruitment consultancy in both the private and public sector. Over many years, I have encountered a not uncommon  perception in corporate Australia, that the over-50 employee tends to be resistant to change - with limited ability and willingness to adapt to technological advancements.

I have found this to be a very unfair generalisation - and have worked with many mature aged workers who actually embrace the benefits of technological innovation. Resistance and anxiety about change is not necessarily restricted to a particular age demographic - flexibility (or the lack of it) is more likely associated with a person's attitudes and personality.

Many employers do report that a benefit of hiring a mature aged worker is they are gaining someone who brings a great depth of life experience to their workplace and willing to mentor others. Here is a short video clip in which a small business owner describes some of the benefits he believes came from employing an over-50 employee, which included among other things, a good work ethic ....

In closing, I would encourage any small business owner to look at the Restart program if they are experiencing growth or expansion, and to consider whether they could gain benefits to their business by hiring an over-50 worker. 

About the author
Brian Carroll is a qualified psychologist and the founder of a Melbourne based consulting business  Performance Development, providing corporate training & HR services. 

This post was initially inspired by a contact from Hypetap - who are working with the Department of Employment to raise awareness of the Restart program. However there is no financial gain for me in writing this article. I genuinely believe the program offers benefits to small business owners across Australia....... Perhaps however, an additional motivation for me is that I fall into the over-50 demographic myself - and know that I still have a wealth of experience and capability which I continue to offer.